Dr. Maura Toro-Morn
Dr. Frank Beck
Little is known of how the “doers” of development may navigate regarding her community’s culture and her job in international development. This lack of knowledge leads to the erasure of experiences, felt both by the volunteer herself, as well as the community members she works with. Through autoethnographic methodology, and analysis, I retell my experiences and entanglements as a Peace Corps volunteer in Morocco with Moroccan institutions and culture, with my own identities and prior American socialization. I examine three questions: (1) How does the female PCV in Morocco make sense out of and create value from life events, relationships, the environment and herself? (2) How does the female PCV navigate the structure of the Peace Corps and her host community? (3) To what extent does my experience as a Peace Corps volunteer deepen my own sense of feminist consciousness? Over a year and a half of private journaling and public blogging, I began a qualitative analysis of thematic coding. Through a process of distilling my codes, I found that the most profound, mundane and pertinent of experiences I documented could be understood best in 4 categories: Time, Space, Language and Doing Development. Within all four categories, the principal social determinant of how, when, where, or what an experience was about, was most often gender. Analysis showed that these four categories, undercut by gender has profound effects on the creation of a sense of belonging, and the growth of consciousness.
Palecek, Renee, "Navigating Cultures and Development: An account of a female Peace Corps volunteer in Morocco" (2019). Stevenson Center for Community and Economic Development to Stevenson Center for Community and Economic Development—Student Research. 39.
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