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Durham e-Theses
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DISABLED VOICES IN DEVELOPMENT? The Implications of Listening to Disabled People in Burkina Faso

BEZZINA, LARA (2017) DISABLED VOICES IN DEVELOPMENT? The Implications of Listening to Disabled People in Burkina Faso. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

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Development discourse and practice have generally ignored, even silenced, people with disabilities. In response, this thesis draws on the case of Burkina Faso to bring geographies of development and disability into dialogue with postcolonial theory, which seeks to recuperate the voices of the marginalised and oppressed. It adopts a mixed ethnographic methods approach, including participatory techniques and interviews, in order to understand the lived experiences of disabled people in Burkina Faso. The thesis first examines the general context of Burkina Faso and the different aspects of Burkinabe life and society in which disabled people’s lives unfold. These aspects are interlinked with the perceptions of disability in Burkina Faso, both in how society perceives disability and in how disabled people view themselves. These perceptions, which are explored subsequently, affect the lived experiences of disabled people, which are often not taken into account by development practitioners who intervene in disabled people’s lives using western models and ideologies. Furthermore, development interventions influence the creation and functioning of grassroots disabled people’s organisations, and here the thesis looks at the challenges these organisations face with regard to their heavy dependence on external partners as well as the lack of ‘organisational spirit’. Finally, the thesis examines disabled people’s perceptions of development and the emphasis on economic independence as an essential element in a disabled person’s life to challenge the predominant perception of disabled people as a burden. It highlights the significance of opening up spaces in which disabled people’s voices can be heard, using techniques such as participatory video, and the significance of having these voices heard by development practitioners. The findings indicate that there is a need to theorise disability from Global South perspectives, as well as to facilitate development through an engagement with the voices and agency of disabled people.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Keywords:disability; development; participatory research; postcolonial theory; Burkina Faso; international non-governmental organisations; disabled people's organisations
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Social Sciences and Health > Geography, Department of
Thesis Date:2017
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:09 May 2017 12:50

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