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Actorhood and institutions: three studies of social intervention in the Sudan

Abdelnour, Samer (2015) Actorhood and institutions: three studies of social intervention in the Sudan. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

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This thesis consists of three studies of social intervention in Sudan. The first offers a critique of institutional voids, a concept used to describe contexts lacking neoliberal market institutions, intermediaries, and practices.Notions of voids underpin much liberal peace thinking and justify postwar interventions that seek to build institutions to support peace and recovery. Similarly, the concept of voids is increasingly used in management and organization studies to describe emerging market and poverty contexts.The question 'What institutional arrangements exist in institutional voids?' motivates an in-depth examination of a state-led intervention to remobilize thousands of fighters through agricultural cooperatives in the Blue Nile. The analysis suggests settings conceptualized as 'voids'are in fact rich in state institutions, bureaucracy, and disinterested agency.' The second study employs the institutional theory notion of actorhood—templates of social identities, roles, and practices—in a thematic analysis of a postwar intervention to reintegrate thousands of fighters using agricultural cooperatives in the Blue Nile. The analysis points to a postwar professions narrative, where formerly warring actors adopt new roles as agents of development and former combatants are reclassified as beneficiaries. Postwar intervention resources, such as tractors, finance, and the cooperative enterprise model are theorized to be institutional anchors, or techniques for organizing specific practices. Findings also point to a postwar intervention paradox: though institutional anchors may be effective for promoting new social practices, they risk reproducing institutional inequalities in intervention settings. The third study critically deconstructs how a simple domestic technology—fuel-efficient stoves—came to be promoted a global solution to sexual violence in conflict zones. Using the concept of problematization—the process linking problems with solutions—as an analytic tool in combination with a discourse analysis of humanitarian advocacy documents. The analysis reveals a set of racial, spatial, gendered, and interventionist frames that enable stoves to emerge a viable intervention to reduce sexual attacks against displaced women and girls, first in Darfur then globally. This study postulates a significant role for advocacy and discourse-infused technology in the emergence of humanitarian 'solutions' and the unintended consequences for beneficiaries.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: © 2015 Samer Abdelnour
Library of Congress subject classification: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > HD28 Management. Industrial Management
Sets: Departments > Management
Supervisor: Kallinikos, Jannis

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