Graduate Thesis Or Dissertation

 

Integrating indigenous knowledge into the community development process : the Zimbabwean experience Public Deposited

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https://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/5999n609z

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  • This study is a critical ethnography of my professional career as an educator born and raised in the Shona culture in Zimbabwe. In this metaphysical study I reconstruct a worldview that I consider to be representative of Shona customs and beliefs. Doing this project has challenged my own ethnic identity as I struggled to position myself on the emic-etic continuum. As a young educator, I believed my professional practice was rooted in the high professional ethics of "modern science." Today as I come to the end of this particular journey, I have raised more questions than answers. To what extend does "modern science" represent the worldviews of indigenous people like me? More still, to what extent does the development of knowledge and technology engage rural indigenous communities? Is it possible for rural indigenous communities to achieve sustainable development as outsiders to the "scientific" community? The questions I have raised in this study have led me to understand that the current state of "development" as a concept and discourse needs to be redefined from the perspective of ordinary rural people. Universal notions of development have failed to inform policy makers and researchers on how to solve social problems of poverty and access to basic services like clean water, food, shelter, and affordable health care and education. Globalization as the new manifestation of "modernity" is leading to increased exclusion of disadvantaged communities, mostly women and indigenous rural people, from enjoying the benefits of new knowledge and advanced technology. In this dissertation, I review the main paradigms of community development from 1884 when Africa was officially "christianized" at the Berlin Conference. The epistemology of community development gave me a unique opportunity to propose a grassroots model to community development that I refer to as the "G Community Development" theory (or simply the GCD theory). The GCD theory is grounded in the Zimbabwean context and my woridview. This theory is my tentative approach to make sense of the state of the development of indigenous communities in rural Zimbabwe. Under no circumstances do I seek to generalize the application of this theoretical artifact.
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