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Title page for ETD etd-06072006-114302

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author VanHooser, Sarah Elizabeth
URN etd-06072006-114302
Title Individual and Community Relationships in Ecuador: A Lesson for Development Theory
Degree Master of Science
Department Human and Organizational Development
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
William L. Partridge Committee Chair
John R. Newbrough Committee Member
  • Community
  • Development
  • Indigenous
  • Ecuador
Date of Defense 2006-06-07
Availability unrestricted
The purpose of this paper is to challenge current understandings about the nature of community and individual relationships held by development theory. Recently, development theorists have challenged the idea that economic growth should be either the primary means or ends of development, and have sought to understand development in terms of freedoms, capabilities, and human rights. While these theories present exciting frameworks with which to further understand and pursue human flourishing, they fail to recognize the importance of community as an integral aspect of human development. In this paper, I argue that the exclusion of community development in the process of human development results from an inadequate understanding of the roles and functions of community, as well as an over-simplification of the nature of individual and community relations.

In order to illustrate these concepts, I explore the role of community in the development of indigenous people in the Chimborazo province of Ecuador. I will rely on interviews collected during an evaluation of an education-focused development program to examine the ways that people understand their community and the relationships between community and individuals. I will first use a “community narrative” framework to interpret how the people that I interviewed understand community at a discursive level. I will then describe the roles of indigenous community organizations and the ways they function in indigenous society. Lastly, I will explore indigenous understandings of individual and community relationships, and use these understandings to challenge current development theories.

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