First Advisor

Sy Adler

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Urban Studies


Urban Studies and Planning




Conflict mitigation, Depoliticization, Development theory, Post-development, Community development -- Political aspects -- Central Asia, Actor-network theory, Central Asia -- Social conditions, Central Asia -- Economic conditions



Physical Description

1 online resource (v, 266 p.) : ill. (some col.)


The motivation for this research comes from the belief that an over reliance on a social constructivist perspective has caused development studies in general, and post-development in particular, to under-theorize the role of discourse in development. A key issue in post-development studies concerns whether or not development organizations depoliticize their interventions. The notion of depoliticization provides a perfect occasion for examining more deeply the role of discourse in development. This research uses the actor-network theory constructivist framework to analyze a USAID funded development program in Central Asia (Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan): Mercy Corps' Peaceful Communities Initiative (PCI). The research approach used in this study involved both traditional ethnographic methods and document analysis. The ethnographic case material comes from multiple field visits to PCI offices in Central Asia and multiple visits to a variety of PCI community sites. The documentary evidence comes from a variety of organization and project specific documents. The embedded case studies demonstrate that materiality cannot be easily separated from sociality and that indeed the two are inseparable. Thus development discourse cannot be solely understood as a social phenomenon but could instead be understood as an assemblage of material elements through which both power and sociality flow.


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Nohad A. Toulan School of Urban Studies and Planning

Persistent Identifier