An Exploration of Understandings of Development and of Wellbeing in a Rural Hill Community of Far West Nepal

Nair, Joanna (2014) An Exploration of Understandings of Development and of Wellbeing in a Rural Hill Community of Far West Nepal. Doctoral thesis, University of East Anglia.

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This ethnographic case study explores understandings of international and local development, and of personal and community wellbeing, in a rural mixed-caste community of Far West Nepal. Taking an ethnographic, interpretive, discourse-oriented and dialogic approach, the thesis uses data collected during eight months of fieldwork, through participant observation, semi-structured interviews, informal conversations and documentary analysis. The case study community includes three main sites; village, school and administrative/’bazaar’ area. Seven individuals and two events are explored as bounded yet interrelated ‘embedded cases’ (Stake, 2006), their foci informed by a life history approach.
Arguing that development and wellbeing are social constructs and relational processes, the thesis draws on theories of Perri 6 (2012) and Zittoun et al (2003) to explore the interplay of institutional structures and human agency in shaping understandings of development and of wellbeing. This involves considering: the community’s most prominent institutions, the school and the Hindu religion; and recent political changes and globalisation processes.
My exploration reveals a close connection between understandings of development and of personal wellbeing, and shows the mediating role of multiple identities, including mine, in shaping these understandings. The thesis argues that key to how development is carried out, and the wellbeing of individuals and communities promoted, is the tendency for understandings of development and personal wellbeing to be concomitant with ideas for community wellbeing only amongst individuals whose personal wellbeing is dependent upon that of their community.
Literature on wellbeing in developing countries usually considers wellbeing in terms of its capacity to inform development interventions, the need for the latter going unquestioned. This thesis contends that wellbeing should be explored not merely as a development criterion but in its own right, potentially leading to a positive shift in attitudes and approaches to development, to the benefit of communities and the individuals who comprise them.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Social Sciences > School of Education and Lifelong Learning
Depositing User: Megan Ruddock
Date Deposited: 16 May 2018 11:35
Last Modified: 16 May 2018 11:35


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