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Providing nursery education in poor neighbourhoods: Joint action by the community and the municipality in Montevideo.

Pena, Cristina (2000) Providing nursery education in poor neighbourhoods: Joint action by the community and the municipality in Montevideo. MPhil thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science (United Kingdom).

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Abstract

This thesis discusses the new relationships established between the State, the market and civil society through the study of a municipal decentralised community nurseries programme implemented in poor neighbourhoods of Montevideo. A country with a strong centralist tradition, Uruguay has lived in the last decade a process of 'participative decentralisation' in its capital city, initiated by the left-wing coalition government of the Municipality of Montevideo. The different elements that might account for the effectiveness of this participative programme are analysed in this research. The decline of centralised State models, burgeoning decentralisation policies and the emergence of new actors and interests have dramatically altered the context of social policy in the last decade. Participation and empowerment have been top of the agenda of policy-makers and academics. This has stimulated the debate over democratisation and civil society, particularly in Latin America. Here, the State has had a traditionally strong embeddedness in society, and the debate over State reform has coupled with a marked economic crisis prompted in great part by the effects of the liberalisation and stabilisation policies enforced during the 1980s. The findings of this research (obtained through observation, questionnaires and interviews) show that effective and democratic decentralisation policies require a redistribution of power through participative channels. Relying on the ideas of an 'economy of solidarity', this thesis argues that the boundaries of private, public and political domains of action are challenged by the creation and strengthening of social organisation. Findings point to the importance of enhancing links of mutual trust and solidarity to generate reciprocity and create stronger local organisations with a well developed internal management capacity. The claim is made that together with an 'endowment' of coherent and dependable public institutions, which allow power distribution and local self- development, this leads to synergistic relationships and effective negotiation within and between State and non State actors. The effectiveness of the Nuestros Ninos community nurseries programme seemed thus to depend mainly on its decentralised and participative design and on the trust and reciprocity links established within the community and with the municipal officers. However, it was found that better use could be made of its decentralised structure and that more efforts should be placed on strengthening the neighbour management associations of the nurseries as well as the relationships between these associations and the nursery staff.

Item Type: Thesis (MPhil)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Education, Early Childhood, Latin American Studies
Sets: Collections > ProQuest Etheses
URI: http://etheses.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/1569

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