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(2022) Schwirtlich, Anne-MarieThesisFollowing the 1857-1858 Mutiny and its expression of Indian hostility to British rule, the British response included the formal transition of power, in 1858, from the British East India Company to the Crown. A significant increase in the size of the British population - driven by an increase in the number of British soldiers stationed in India - accompanied this shift in governance. The Mutiny, for the first time, required British authorities and the British public to deal with a significant number of British widows. These women were a stark visual reminder of personal and national vulnerability and of Britain's military failure. The subsequent four decades saw the consolidation of, and the growth in opposition to, British authority in India, and the fashioning of Britain's imperial narrative. Articulations of the purpose of British rule of India focused on Britain's advanced status, its strength (economically, legally, politically, educationally, and morally), and on the benefits India, in turn, would derive from British rule. The success of the narrative required the British in India to exemplify this purpose, status, and strength. This thesis argues that British women widowed in India between 1860 and 1900 were emblematic of the vulnerability, failure, and cost of Britain's presence in India. The fact of their widowhood and their behaviour while in India could tarnish, if not threaten, Britain's narrative of superiority by their critique of British rule, and by their indigence, lack of industry or immorality. An analysis is made of the cultural expectations of widows and the manner in which fiction, advice manuals, consolatory literature and policy marked the boundaries of acceptable behaviour and set the parameters to 'manage' widows. This is complemented by close research of the experiences of a cohort of 260 British women widowed in India between 1860 and 1900. The exploration of the interplay between societal expectations and the ways in which widows accepted, accommodated, adapted, or exploited these expectations illuminates our understanding of gender in British imperialism. This study concludes that while a few widows openly challenged societal expectations and conventions, or simply operated outside them feeling little obligation to model imperial behaviour, most widows found elements of the conventions sufficiently useful and elastic to forge lives of purpose and meaning.
Colombian Women's Stories of Empowerment and (In)Security in Conflict: A Decolonial Feminist Approach(2023) Boer-Cueva, AlbaThesisThe concepts of empowerment and (in)security have increasingly received theoretical and programmatic attention across international studies and policy frameworks in development, peacebuilding, and post-conflict reconstruction. Their integration, however, particularly into mainstream peacebuilding discourse and practice, is leading to growing tensions that result from the assumption of a positive relationship between the achievement of women’s empowerment and security – both on a personal level for women and in general for society, through, for example, the maintenance of peace. While lacking consensus, these concepts continue to be embedded within apparently neutral documents, including peace agreements, which assume their meaning is stable and uncontested. Situating myself in feminist peace research and adopting a decolonial feminist approach, I trouble the assumed positive nature of the relationship between women’s empowerment and security, and contribute to theoretical deliberations by highlighting other locations and sources of expertise. I do this by drawing on four supporting concepts: spatio-temporality, intersectionality, identity, and knowability. Specifically, I engage with women’s stories about peace and conflict, and particularly their experiences and conceptualisations of empowerment and (in)security through a case study of Colombia’s contemporary conflict and the peacebuilding process with FARC-EP. Drawing on 43 interviews, I offer a theorisation of women’s empowerment in relation to (in)security as a co-constituted, intersectional, embodied, and spatio-temporal process. I argue that women’s intersecting identities are located and produced in structural relations of power that determine not only how they are known, but how and why they conceptualise their empowerment and (in)security in different ways. I further argue that women in peacebuilding contexts are constituted in and through different spatio-temporalities of violence, in ways that do not map onto hegemonic binaries of urban/rural or conflict/post-conflict. My analysis encourages a critical examination of the instrumentalisation of women and gender in peacebuilding processes, and the need to engage with women’s meaning-making and strategic activism by foregrounding their multiple ways of knowing otherwise in conflict and peacebuilding. Ultimately, this research and its decolonial feminist approach to knowledge cultivation in the academy draws its significance from its call to action, to bring about more meaningful, transdisciplinary, co-created analyses of peace, violence, and conflict.
A Critical Analysis of the Role of Governance in Food Systems Change – A Case Study of the Ghana Green Label Foundation and its Implications for Food Policy(2023) Arthur, HansonThesisThe global food system faces significant challenges in terms of achieving food and nutrition security, and sustainability. There continue to be many social, economic, and environmental externalities and violations (such as land degradation, water pollution, smallholder livelihood challenges, health and safety threats from the overuse of pesticides, food fraud and food safety challenges, among others) that increasingly challenge the current global food system. How food systems are governed is important in reversing current adverse trends and in achieving long term sustainability. The role of private non-state1 modes of governance as drivers of change in the structure and function of food systems is also widely recognized. While the phenomenon of private governance of food systems is widely studied in the Global North, little is known and understood about the phenomenon in certain regions of the Global South, particularly in Sub-Sahara Africa. The aim of this thesis is to critically examine the role of non-state governance actors in food system change, and especially how they contribute to achieving food systems sustainability in Global South contexts. The thesis deploys a qualitative case study approach to deepen understandings of emerging non-state modes of food systems governance in the Global South from a city-region perspective, and how such governance arrangements promote or hinder sustainability in its dimensions of governance, social, economic, and environmental outcomes. A non-state food governance arrangement in Ghana that utilizes certification as a governance mechanism is used as a case study, and its sustainability outcomes assessed by using the Food and Agricultural Organization’s (FAO) SAFA (Sustainability Assessment of Food and Agriculture Systems) Framework. The study finds that by involving several food system actors in its governing board, the arrangement has achieved legitimacy as a food governance institution. Furthermore, while the arrangement largely succeeds in promoting economic and social sustainability, significant improvements are needed in its contribution to the governance and environmental dimensions of sustainability. This study contributes to current knowledge and understanding of the role of governance in orchestrating food system change in the context of developing countries. The study generates empirical governance lessons for potential transfer into other geographic regions confronting food system challenges. The study further contributes to the discourse about the shift from ‘government’ to ‘governance’, it highlights the adoption of sustainable [agricultural] practices and supports the formulation of more inclusive food system governance policies in developing countries. Finally, it provides evidence on how the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are being pursued in Global South contexts.
Framing the Rohingya Crisis: A Data-Driven Multi- Country Analysis of Government-Media-Citizen Relations in Spectator Countries(2023) Dinco, JeanThesisThis research explores the framing of the Rohingya issue in Myanmar by governments, traditional media and social media in India, Bangladesh and the Unites States —three nations that serve as conflict spectators and recipients of the Rohingya refugees. Critical media studies have the relationship between the press and the state is well-established. However, there is a gap in the literature as to whether online citizen frames are similarly implicative of a government’s national interest and whether traditional media frames play a role in this regard. This research aimed to provide a deeper understanding of how government, traditional media, and online citizens interact over time, as well as whether social media offers a different form of framing for an ongoing conflict. The manner in which messages regarding the Rohingya conflict are framed in traditional news and on social media in observer countries serves as a benchmark for analysing how national interest facilitates the framing of online citizens. In this study, I utilised text-as-data techniques to determine the breadth of this alignment by identifying issue-specific frames and sourcing patterns between traditional media and social media. I performed a correlation analysis to assess the alignment of frames between the government, traditional media, and online citizens. The extent to which a country’s national interest gets replicated among online citizen users depends on a complex interplay of factors, including the nature of the national interest and the degree of government influence on traditional media narratives. The results challenge the dominant narrative that online communication is liberating and raise questions about the hegemonic influence of social media in democratic states.