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Popular participation in Sandinista Nicaragua: A case study of two rural cooperatives.

Pritchard, Diana Jane (1994) Popular participation in Sandinista Nicaragua: A case study of two rural cooperatives. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science (United Kingdom).

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Abstract

This thesis provides a detailed examination of the processes of participation which developed during the years of the Sandinista Government in Nicaragua (1979-90) and is based on extensive fieldwork on two rural cooperatives. Whereas the predominant analysis of the experience of popular participation during the period has emphasised structural level phenomena, here an attempt is made to combine actor-oriented and structural-historical approaches in order to identify the key factors which operated to shape the development of local participation. In such a way the thesis stresses how micro-level factors - life experiences, subjective meanings and group dynamics - interacted with macro-level processes. The thesis starts by identifying the dimensions and theories of popular participation which relate to its objectives, intensities and outcomes, in order to frame the research questions. The period studied is then contextualised with a history of Nicaragua, establishing the authoritarian conditions which marginalised the majority of Nicaraguans from economic development and political processes. Next, the thesis examines Sandinista political theory, the channels of popular participation and the macro-level factors which restricted its development. It also describes how the cooperative movement evolved during the period of Sandinista rule as an expression of the peasant movement in the context of state paternalism. The main analytical body of the thesis starts by providing background details about the two case studies. Then it details and compares the participatory processes underway within the cooperatives, focusing on the assembly, leadership and women; the different intensities of participation; and the social factors influencing it. These processes are evaluated qualitatively and it is demonstrated that despite apparent limitations, participation enhanced the social, political and psychological power of cooperative members although in different, uneven and contradictory ways. The thesis concludes that although the participation of peasants in national level structures was restricted, the objective conditions created by the FSLN contributed to the qualitative empowerment of individuals incorporated into cooperatives. International comparisons, theoretical and policy implications are finally noted.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Uncontrolled Keywords: History, Latin American
Sets: Collections > ProQuest Etheses
URI: http://etheses.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/1275

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