Folkbildning för demokrati : Colombianska kvinnors perspektiv på kunskap som förändringskraft

Sammanfattning: This thesis explores popular education as a tool for social change and democratization. The aim is to investigate the relation between popular education, empowerment and democratization by studying the meaning of a popular education project to women's life and participation in a local context. The focus is on women's participation as a human right, and the empirical study is carried out in Colombia within a popular education project for democracy. As a groundwork for the empirical study, research from the fields of popular education, civil society and its political movements, and finally development work for democracy is presented with emphasis on the Latin American context. three theoretical perspectives are used as analytical tools for the study. These are put in a framework of empowerment, a concept which here refers to capacity to act for change. Paulo Freire's conciousness rising pedagogy is discussed in terms of cultural oppression, and in connection to the circumstances in Colombia. Martha Nussbaum's theory The Capabilities' Approach is used as an articulation of the practical import of human rights. both freire and Nussbaum analyze unequal power structures in society as the main obstacle for democratic development, but while Freire focuses on class Nussbaum sees gender as the core problem. They both argue for education that provides people with knowledge and capabilities in order to be able to participate in the development of society as active citizens. this has much in common with the third perspective presented, which is based on Latin American feminist research and a reinterpretation of the concept of citizenship. The authors argue that citizenship, if discussed from a universal rights perspective, can be used to challenge the authoritarian, patriarchal political culture and social structure of the continent. It can also bring women's problems and interests on to the official political agendas. The empirical study is based on three rounds of interviews with 31 women in total. The first round of interviews was made when the women participated in the popular education project for the first time, and a second one year later. this second interview study followed up on the effects of the participation on both a personal and a more collective level. The data material was analyzed on three levels: a discursive, a social relational and an institutional level. The results are presented in three chapters, where the first details the introductory interviews, the second the follow up study, while the third analyzes the results in terms of a process of development. On the discursive level, the result shows development in argumentative capacity as well as a deepened understanding of democracy, power- and gender structures. This is related to a positive result also on the social relational level. The women claim respect for their rights and have taken new positions in the social interaction and official political discussions in the villages. They say that there has been a change in attitudes and norms around power, gender, relations and political participation. According to the women, this change can be attributed to the universal rights agenda and the gender perspective on which the education is built. On the institutional level, there is a more scattered picture. One concrete outcome though, is a dialogue table in San Pedro for discussions between citizens and politicians. so far it has succeded to bring higher education to the community.

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