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Lorena Gibson

Doctor of Philosophy, (Social Anthropology)
Study Completed: 2011
College of Humanities & Social Sciences


Thesis Title
Hope, agency and the 'side effects' of development in India and Papua New Guinea

Read article at Massey Research Online: MRO icon

Ms Gibson explored how women living in urban poverty in India and Papua New Guinea hope and act for development. She conducted ethnographic fieldwork with four grassroots-level organisations running development initiatives in education and income-generation led by Muslim women in Howrah and Kolkata (India), and Christian women in Lae (Papua New Guinea). Data was gathered using a variety of qualitative methods and involved repeated visits to each city to observe changes over time. Her research illustrated how women from very different contexts struggled to create more meaningful lives for themselves and their families in similar ways while sometimes reproducing the inequalities they sought to transform. Her work identified a number of ‘side effects’ of development, including collective hope and collective agency, which sustain collective action in the face of adversity and failure. Her findings have practical implications for supporting and enhancing the success of grassroots development organisations.

Associate Professor Sita Venkateswar
Dr Robyn Andrews
Professor Glenn Banks