Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Economies of Obligation: Western Nicaraguan Women and Valuations of Their Work
by McBride, Amanda Gabrielle, Ph.D., California Institute of Integral Studies, 2012, 174; 3546202
Abstract (Summary)

Economies of Obligation: Western Nicaraguan Women and Valuations of their Work explores the ways in which women's work is devalued in rural Nicaragua to map the relations between women's daily routine, cultural norms, socioeconomic conditions, and Nicaragua's development priorities. It focuses on household reproductive labor and informal work as forms of economic survival and obligation, and makes links to discursive and institutional practices intensifying women's economic responsibilities. It is ethnographic research that uses post-colonial and feminist economics as theoretical frameworks.

The research was undertaken in response to a call of leaders within the women's network in Northern Nicaragua to develop an exhibit and booklet that visualizes correlations between policies (economic, education, labor, family, health), subjectivity, and uses of the female body for the development of nation-state. It is a collaborative effort with Grupo Venancia, an organization actively involved in the Central American women's movement, and the Network of Nicaraguan Women of the North.

In five Matagalpa municipalities, 12 women took pictures of women working in their community for an exhibit and booklet that mapped daily routine, forms of feminized labor (formal, informal, productive, reproductive, household), and specific tasks to disrupt their ordinariness, insignificance, invisibility, and acceptability. The exhibit will be presented in each of the communities along with the booklet as part of an effort to advocate for visibility of, change in, and support for women's work and wellbeing. The procedures were closely aligned with three key methodologies: feminist participatory research, visual ethnography and genealogical practice, and the insights from Caroline Wang's photovoice methods (1997). The project address issues through (1) photos taken by rural women who participate in networks of feminist resistance; (2) their understanding and appraisal of socioeconomic, political, and cultural factors in the photos; and (3) archival research on quantifying or valuing work in national statistics and policies.

This research raises the question of obligatory work done for others as a form of citizenship that is worthy of social value, remuneration, and technical and institutional support.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Ortiz, Roxanne Dunbar
Commitee: Gonzalez-Rivera, Victoria, Quesada, James
School: California Institute of Integral Studies
Department: Social and Cultural Anthropology
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-A 74/04(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Cultural anthropology, Womens studies, Labor economics
Keywords: Advocacy, Labor, Nicaragua, Participatory, Rural, Valuations of their work, Western Nicaraguan women
Publication Number: 3546202
ISBN: 978-1-267-79452-9
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