School of Social and Political Sciences - Theses
Now showing items 1-12 of 357
Women Politicians, Gender, Nation, and Democratisation: A Political Ethnography of Serbia and Kosovo
This is an ethnography of women politicians in the ‘politically sensitive environments’ (Browne and McBride, 2015, p. 34) of Serbia and Kosovo/a. It investigates the ways in which women imagined, constructed, and politicised national and gender identities as they actively engaged with politics in the context of the as yet understudied process of democratisation. This research highlights a profound paradox. In navigating between national and gender identities and everyday work in the nationalist contexts of Serbia and Kosovo/a, women politicians attained a certain degree of agency and emancipation. Despite the ongoing context of democratisation, however, the discourse remained fundamentally patriarchal and, therefore, subordinating for women. Even as they centred themselves in the present democratic political context, women continued to draw on the primordial and ancient elements of their ethnies/nations in the form of blood, roots, myths, symbols, and rituals as a means of politicising their own positions. In order to prove their invaluable contributions to their ethnies/nations, women politicised traditional gender roles and narratives. I argue that the lack of recognition and the continued undervaluing of women’s contributions have influenced the politicisation of gender and national identities in the process of democratisation and steered women towards the hierarchical organisation of ethnie over gender identity. Women politicians predominantly politicised their biological roles as reproducers, mothers, sisters, educators, and contributors to the ethnie in pursuit of greater gender equality with their men. The ongoing democratisation process in the Western Balkans opened space for greater political participation of women. It did not, however, automatically make this political space safe. Traditional gender and ethnie roles as well as patriarchal narratives still dominated political space and affected women’s political strategies. For these reasons, women are constantly required to negotiate between different ethnie and gender demands in order to survive in politics.
Egalitarianism, Deliberation and Technoscience: Reimagining Equality in a Postcolonial Democracy
Political theory in recent times have been confronted with two substantive challenges. On one hand while normative or analytic philosophy has come under criticism for being too abstract and devoid of any practical significance, the post-structural variety has not been able to proceed further beyond the critique of political institutions, specially of the liberal democratic form. While the former has to contend with the charge of an ethics-first approach that does not work in the real world of politics, the latter is handicapped by its inability to frame coherent political and normative frameworks. This dissertation attempts to bridge the divide by working with a recent tradition of democratic realism within the confines of liberal democratic theory. While doing so, it examines the ideas of development, security and resistance in the postcolonial context through the lens of India’s nuclear program. Much of the analysis of these issues have come from the standpoint of critiques of these ideas in contemporary times. Even though those analysis have provided us insights, previously unappreciated, they have not been successful in theorizing about the way forward. This dissertation is both a descriptive as well as a normative attempt to look at those issues with the aim of thinking beyond critique. It proceeds in three distinct parts where in i)using theory of democratic realism it seeks to argue how we need to go beyond the various critiques of development, ii) how Hume inspired moral sentimentalism can be re-imagined to extricate ourselves from the binaries of liberalism and nationalism and lastly, iii)using Stanley Cavell and Ranciere try to conceptualize the legitimacy and importance of subaltern resistance in democratic politics.
‘Framing’ Negotiation: Participant perspectives on industry-Indigenous agreement-making in the resource extraction context
This thesis examines industry-Indigenous agreement-making with a focus on the diamond mine industry in Northern Canada. Agreement-making is posited as a platform for Indigenous voices and viewpoints, a mechanism to generate greater Indigenous autonomy in land and resource decision-making. To date, evaluations of agreement-making and its potential to engender autonomy, have mostly concentrated on parameters set by legal and policy architectures, and on outcome evaluation. Structural parameters and contextual factors at the meso political level are drawn into and inform negotiation as the ‘microprocess’ that shapes interaction and the outcomes produced. Despite this, insufficient attention is paid to parties’ engagement ‘on the ground’. This thesis helps to fill this gap. It contends that negotiation, namely parties’ actual interaction, is a critical site of agreement-making’s transformative potential. This study defines autonomy as agency and authorship within engagements. Arguably, ‘meaningful negotiation’ - being an equality of standing and opportunity for Indigenous voices and viewpoints - is required for this form of autonomy to be realised. ‘Meaningful negotiation’ must provide a generative platform in which parties can assert their values, understandings and practices and where these diverge, an ability to accommodate polysemy. The history of Indigenous-settler engagements reveals significant challenges in bringing about ‘meaningful negotiation’. Past settler-Indigenous engagements over land and resources have marginalised Indigenous peoples. These precedents reveal the imposition of Anglo-settler values, understandings and practices and unequal relations of power between these groups. Indigenous peoples have struggled to assert their autonomy through historic treaties and the formal recognition of international and domestic rights and recognition. Contemporary agreement-making has arisen to mediate ongoing settler-Indigenous conflict over land and resources. Proponents locate agreement-making within a valued ‘politics of recovery’ to contest and transform the status quo. Others, informed by settler-colonial and critical Indigenous theory, explicitly reject it as ‘redefining without reforming’. This thesis adopted a participant-based case study of the Impact Benefit Agreements of the diamond mining industry in the Northwest Territories, Canada. It examined the negotiation space through participant accounts, drawing on 28 qualitative interviews and primary and secondary document analysis. Its conceptual approach was informed by frame theory; ‘frames’ map where divergences arise and how these are mediated between the ‘sides’ negotiating. The study finds a number of factors worked to inhibit ‘meaningful negotiation’. This revealed itself as an inability to accommodate the most extreme points of divergence in values, understandings and practices. While some participants perceived the potential for greater autonomy within the negotiations of industry-Indigenous agreement-making, this proved contingent on the nature and scope of these divergences and their respective prospects for mediation.
A comparative analysis of the normative power of the EU and China
This thesis examines how the normative power of China compares to that of the European Union (EU). It seeks to contribute to the literature on normative power through the incorporation of interests in the analysis of normative power, the systematic examination of China’s normative power, and case studies of multilateral institutions in which multiple actors exercise normative power. This thesis examines normative power through an analytical framework comprising three core components: norms, diffusion mechanisms, and outcomes of norm diffusion. It applies this framework to the EU and China to assess whether these two actors possess normative power in global governance. It studies the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) and the Paris Agreement (PA) to investigate how the EU and China exercise normative power in multilateral institutions. It also examines how these two actors address their norm divergence through compromise in the AIIB and the PA and the outcomes of their compromises in these two institutions. In addition to comparing the norms, diffusion mechanisms, and outcomes of norm diffusion of the EU and China, this thesis compares the two case studies of the AIIB and the PA. It argues that both the EU and China are predominantly driven by their own interests in their exercise of normative power. It demonstrates the centrality of interests in all three core components of normative power, namely norms, diffusion mechanisms, and outcomes.
Modernity, Sociality and the Enigma of Justice
This thesis is an inquiry into the enigmatic idea of Justice. Like all foundational ideas, justice is subject to increasing tension as a result of competing interpretations of the ‘good’ in modernity and sociality and plurality in all its forms. This creates the enigmatic quality of justice which resides on the one hand in a proliferation of theories of justice which are irreducible and incommensurate and on the other, a hollowing out or fraying of any overarching idea of justice. Justice for this thesis is theorised within broader social rather than usual political frameworks and is situated between formal and contextual approaches and always contains an ethical orientation. This idea of justice is inclusive of both transcendent foundational and immanent regulative moments, which ultimately are not resolvable, which informs the enigmatic quality of justice, related finally to the openness of justice. In drawing out this enigmatic quality, this thesis focuses on early modern and contemporary approaches from Kant and Hegel to Heller and Honneth. The choice of theorists is related to the conceptual dialogue between their varying interpretations of modernity, sociality and their relationship to the idea of justice. This dialogue highlights key theoretical architecture from the earlier theorists, which resonates in the contemporary theories. Most notably, the continuum between form and context and between what I refer to as the ‘pivot points’ of justice, including the subject and their sociality, the right and the good, form and content, contingency and teleology framed within the overarching concepts of western modernity, freedom and value plurality. In developing this dialogue, I identify a number of under-theorised elements, leading to the argument that justice in contemporary modernity must include regulative moments or elements which allow for the negotiation of immanent empirical problems. The idea of justice is however, neither exhausted nor limited to the horizon of the present and always gestures beyond immanence to the immediate future or the distant future. I argue this immanent and transcendent dimension is internal to the idea of justice itself. I also argue that while the enigmatic quality of justice will remain, it may be mediated by mobilising key concepts from both Kant and Hegel which have been updated and modified by Heller and Honneth. The outcome of these updated ideas is that justice as an idea in contemporary modernity can be theorised as 'open', closely aligned to freedom and positioned between and drawing upon immanence and transcendence.
Motherhood Statements: A discursive institutionalist analysis of the implementation of breastfeeding policy in Victoria
This thesis investigates the role of discourse in policy implementation in policymaking contexts characterised by few formal policy institutions. It does this by analysing the case study of the implementation of breastfeeding policy in the state of Victoria, using a discursive institutionalist framework specifically adapted for understanding policy implementation. Data about the case study was gathered through review of a corpus of breastfeeding policy documents and through semi-structured interviews with 19 key implementers of breastfeeding policy. The interview data was processed using a mixed deductive inductive coding approach based on grounded theory. The data was analysed through the lens of Schmidt’s (2008, 2011) discursive institutionalism, incorporating concepts from implementation theory. Several significant findings resulted from the data analysis. Firstly, it was found that in policymaking contexts with a few formalised policy institutions, discourse produces new institutions which mould how actors implement policy. The two types of new institution which have emerged in the Victorian breastfeeding sector are breastfeeding policy – an intertextual construct produced through the interrelationships of the mass of texts used by implementers – and the role descriptions of the non-public service actors involved in implementing breastfeeding policy. The findings showed these roles could be formalised, as in job descriptions of healthcare professionals, or informal, as in norms about being a good mother. Secondly, it was found that informal institutions are discursively arranged into relationships with each other, where one group defined by an institution is allowed to act in prescribed ways towards another group defined by an institution. The relationships between these groups are therefore power relations, and emerge out of attempts to solve the ‘problem’ of women failing to establish or maintain breastfeeding – a problem which is constituted by a conflict between individuals’ experiences and discursive ideals. As actors attempt to solve this problem, ideational structures proliferate in the form of narratives which explain the problem and proffer solutions to it. However, sometimes these narratives conflict with each other, producing additional discursive problems which must then be solved in turn. The most common solution to these problems involved prescribing courses of actions two institutionally defined groups may take with respect to each other. Further, it was found that, in addition to Schmidt’s (2008, 2011) identification of ‘communicative’ and ‘coordinative’ discourses, a ‘public’ discourse could be identified, where actors in the public sphere (who may be media figures or members of the public) speak to political actors about public policy, its purpose, and its effectiveness. This thesis is the first study to apply discursive institutionalism specifically to a problem of policy implementation. It therefore represents a new extension of critical policy theory into implementation studies. As detailed above, it generates a number of new findings about how policy implementation happens in institutional voids, which may also be applicable to other policymaking contexts. This thesis has also generated insights about how policy implementation happens that can form the basis of future theory-building of policy implementation as a discursive process.
The Challenges to Reforming the Dublin System: A Critical Assessment of the Institutional Constraints on EU Asylum Policy-Making
The EU’s current system for distributing responsibility for asylum seekers, known as the Dublin Regulation, has failed to fulfil its core objectives of preventing secondary movement and ensuring swift and equal access to protection procedures for all asylum seekers. The system has had a harmful effect on refugee protection and human rights in EU member states. The system has also been widely denounced for unfairly disadvantaging frontline member states by concentrating the ‘burden of responsibility’ on countries that are geographically located as countries of first entry. Despite its problematic operation, relatively few studies have examined why the Dublin system has been maintained. This thesis seeks to explain why EU policy-makers continue to maintain the core responsibility principles of the Dublin system. Further it examines what have been the main impediments to pursuing policy change. The thesis investigates the factors contributing to policy continuity regarding the Dublin system by tracing the decision-making process across three negotiating periods (2001-2003; 2008-2012; 2016-). The thesis conceptualises the Dublin system’s history of policy failure as a case of institutional failure. It argues that the Commission, the Parliament and the Council failed to agree to durable solutions at key points of re-negotiation. This thesis argues that the institutional context within which decision-making takes place has shaped policy outcomes by constraining actor behaviour and strategies during the policy-making process. Institutionalist explanations of policy continuity regarding the Dublin system have been relatively under-explored in comparison with preference-based and rational choices approaches (Armstrong 2016; Thielemann and Armstrong 2013; Mouzourakis 2014; Bosso 2016). The thesis focuses on two features of the EU institutional context that acted as drivers and impediments to reform: the formal distribution of power and resources among the policy actors; and the inter-institutional norms, procedures and customary practices that structure the decision-making process. A major finding of this thesis is that decision-making regarding the Dublin system continues to be characterised by a culture of intergovernmentalism, which has privileged national governments and their interest in the policy process. This has prompted the Commission, Parliament and successive Council Presidencies to adopt pragmatic approaches to reform aimed primarily at accommodating the various national interests. As a result, the re-negotiations have been characterised by continuity regarding the responsibility principles of the Dublin system
Rethinking Women’s Agency and Empowerment: Insights from Agricultural Households in Northern Ghana
This thesis seeks to represent the voices of local women regarding the concept of ‘women’s empowerment’. Although it is a dominant concept in development discourse, and one that has been extensively researched, what constitutes empowerment from local women’s perspectives—and the implications for their agency and realisation of outcomes in their specific contexts—remains poorly understood. Through an exploratory case study of local women’s perspectives and experiences and non-governmental organisation (NGO) interventions in Northern Ghana, this thesis engages with the concept of ‘women’s empowerment’ and highlights important gaps in the ways this concept is deployed in the development sector. Specifically, this thesis draws from ten months of qualitative fieldwork in the Upper West Region of Ghana, using in-depth interviews, focus group discussions, participant observations and document reviews to contribute a contextual insight into local meanings and factors underpinning women’s notions and pathways to empowerment in Ghana’s agricultural sector. My findings show that both NGOs and local women conceptualise empowerment as a process of change and a progression from conditions of powerlessness to conditions of relative control in the socio-political, economic, nutritional and informational domains. However, while NGO interest in these domains is driven by neoliberal donor development goals and requirements, with a focus on evidence-based measurable change and visible agency outcomes, women’s understandings of empowerment as change in these domains are underpinned by their pursuit of ‘cultural projects’ linked to marriage, motherhood and building relations of solidarity motivated by spiritual and psychosocial gains. As such, rather than harnessing politico-economic attainments to transform the hierarchical (unequal) power relations in which they are embedded, women define their ability to choose agency pathways that enable them to realise such culturally meaningful goals as empowerment, even when this ostensibly re/produces their subordination. Juxtaposing women’s perspectives with those of the NGOs, I show that because women construct empowerment within pre-existing socio-religious and gendered discourses on power—as well as their historically communal patriarchal cultural context—their empowerment is closely associated with agency pathways that promote cohesive relationships and interdependent complementarities from which they derive meaning and purpose in their lives. Therefore, I argue that, despite convergence in perspectives and the infiltration of neoliberal ideals, local women’s notions and pathways to empowerment are complex and nuanced by the prioritisation of culturally constituted non-material wellbeing achievements, as opposed to the evidence-based politico-economic and gender equality agenda of NGOs empowerment projects. Further, I assert that, while the focus on macro-level indicators of change is important for policy action, for effective planning towards sustainable change, sensitivity to women’s local realities of power/lessness and recognising the value of cultural projects to their empowerment is crucial. This thesis foregrounds women’s voices and allows us to appreciate that women’s struggle for empowerment is one for a change that is socio-culturally defined and valued by women, no matter how insignificant, and irrespective of whether such change promotes gender equality or undoes gender power asymmetries, as advocated for in dominant empowerment frameworks. This thesis also enriches the literature on the significance of incorporating ‘cultural projects’ into empowerment conceptualisation and practice.
The Concept of Functional Differentiation and the Logic of Comparative Functionalism: A Study in Sociological Theory
The concept of functional differentiation is one of sociology’s oldest and most lasting analytic tools, having its roots at the very beginning of the modern discipline. Among both classical and contemporary scholars, one sees a pervasive belief that functional differentiation – broadly understood as the process by which functional distinctions emerge between social units, or as the degree to which social units diverge in their functional orientations – is an especially significant construct in the comparative study of social structure. Despite this prominence, the notion of functional differentiation is currently marred by significant ambiguity, with uncertainty surrounding its meaning, purpose, and general utility in the contemporary discipline. Addressing this confusion, this thesis presents an explicative analysis of the functional differentiation construct, tracing its historical development through the work of four major figures in functionalist sociology: Herbert Spencer, Emile Durkheim, Talcott Parsons, and Niklas Luhmann. It evaluates the intellectual foundations on which their particular understandings of functional differentiation rest, delineates points of divergence in their respective approaches to ‘differentiation theory’, and considers the enduring problems which have frustrated attempts to translate their ideas into a concrete program of cross-societal comparative research. Through these discussions, it is argued that theorists of functional differentiation have, due to persistent conceptual issues in their understanding of three key terms (society, structure, and function), consistently struggled to provide an adequate empirical interpretation of the differentiation construct, and have, as a result, left us without a satisfying defence of its theoretical or explanatory significance. The thesis thus contributes to a broader critique of the logic of comparative functionalism as a general method in macrosociological inquiry.
Digitally altered: making news in the 21st century
Audience research demonstrates that online news has become a dominant source of news in Australia, especially for people under 40 years of age. Australians now obtain their news from online sites – such as Yahoo!7 News and news.com.au – in preference to traditional newspapers. Such sites are very important to the future of news journalism, yet they are vastly understudied – especially in Australia. This thesis, based on a study of a major digital aggregated online news organisation in Australia, Yahoo!7 News, investigated the question: How can the study of an Australian aggregated news site (Yahoo!7 News) contribute to our understanding of digital aggregated news production? This research project collected data from observations at Yahoo!7 News, interviews with the Yahoo!7 newsworkers and a content analysis of the Yahoo!7 News site and the Yahoo!7 social networking platforms (i.e. Facebook and Twitter). The data indicates that there were three dominant issues at Yahoo!7 News related to the role of the newsworkers and newsroom practices, the production of news content and the newsworkers’ perceptions of their audience. Firstly, the newsworkers acted as gatekeepers, tightly controlling the outflow of news by limiting the involvement of the Yahoo!7 News audience with the content they generated. Secondly, success was perceived through a prism of the ‘race to be first’, which caused newsworkers to prioritise and value speed and immediacy. And, finally, the newsworkers felt that their roles as news producers were not as highly valued by the traditional journalists. This thesis will analyse and discuss the implications of the findings from Yahoo!7 News and contribute to extending our understanding of digital aggregated news production.
Matters of Death: The Life of Altars in Contemporary Japan
This thesis examines transforming material relations with the dead in contemporary Japan focused on one artefact of Japanese death culture, the Buddhist altar or butsudan. Butsudan are complex material artefacts with deep histories of religious symbolism that have been a key site for ancestor veneration, Buddhist practice, and connecting with the dead in Japanese homes for many generations. They are also an unstable technology of mediating the dead in Japan. Once present in the vast majority of households, butsudan sales have seriously declined and traditional artisan products are being replaced by modern, fashion-conscious, and secular designs. The progressively marginal position occupied by butsudan in Japanese religious and family life has contributed to a growing sense of unease, if not crisis, within the religious goods industry and temple Buddhism. Decline occurs against a broader backdrop of transformation to Japanese death traditions, precipitated by demographic changes, secularisation, and economic stagnation. In an age of “precarity” (Allison 2013), in which the socio-religious structures once relied upon to secure a good death have significantly weakened, how do relations with the dead proceed? This thesis traces the dynamics by which artefacts of mediating the dead like butsudan emerge, circulate within religious and funerary economies, come to mediate intimate exchanges between the living and the dead, and ultimately fall into disuse. I draw on ethnographic fieldwork with artisans, retailers, consumers, and clergy, including several months working in Buddhist goods companies in Tokyo, Osaka, and Toyama. Attending to the rich details of material practice at the altar, I further elucidate modes of necrosociality beyond memorialisation, in particular, kuyo or veneration, as they operate in contemporary Japan. I suggest that kuyo requires an investment in material forms, either altars or their growing alternatives, which make the absent dead present, facilitating acts of care that are also practices of disposal and disconnection. The contemporary form of butsudan emerges out of collaborative efforts to care for the dead, which are increasingly reliant on commercial actors and which must be balanced with considerations of convenience, economy, and personal taste. The five main body chapters of this thesis trace the life course of butsudan, through sites of their crafting, retail, encounter, disposal, and innovation. This structure illuminates the mutability, and ultimately mortality, of necromaterial forms, which I argue is an increasingly significant factor in how people navigate relationships with the dead in Japan today.This thesis thus contributes to our broader understanding of how absence through death is made sensorially present through the life and death of material culture.
Consultation, Research and Policy Development; Lessons from the Deafblind Community about Co-Creating a More Inclusive World
This thesis reports on the exploration of good practice approaches to consultation, research, policy and service development with Deafblind people. Given the exploratory nature of the study, a multi-phased and multi-modal programme of research was conducted that incorporated both qualitative and quantitative components. The majority of the research programme utilised qualitative methods. The literature was surveyed to ascertain an understanding of the state of the science in the field of Deafblindness in regard to current consultation, research, policy and service development guidelines and practices with Deafblind people and the professionals who support them. The review of the literature sought to determine if there was evidence of a distinct Deafblind culture and community and if so, how this might interact with and affect the social inclusion/exclusion of Deafblind people. Moreover, the literature search investigated whether any co-creation, co-design or emancipatory research involved Deafblind people and the impact of associated complexities and barriers that arise from working with sign language interpreters and other gatekeepers of access to knowledge, such as the professionals in the field of Deafblindness. The review of the literature revealed that the state of the science in the field of Deafblindness is largely still in its infancy and that there is a paucity of literature regarding good practice approaches to consultation, research, policy and service development. To date, research has predominantly focused on biomedical issues and allied-health interventions designed to address barriers to everyday communication on an individual basis. There is a limited literature internationally, and even less in Australia in regard to engaging Deafblind people in community conversations and other forms of inclusive or indeed emancipatory research methodologies, that would enable Deafblind people to contribute to policy and service developments.What little literature there is, was found to be based on semi-structured surveys and post hoc narrative accounts. There was limited evidence of any larger scale community consultation process with the Deafblind community. Consequently, the questions that this research programme asked were: 1) What is current accepted practice in arranging events for, and consulting with people who are Deafblind; 2) How best can sign language and interpreter services be prepared for involvement in consultation and research activities, and more specifically as part of a World Café consultation, and; 3) What knowledge, skills, tools and resources are needed when planning a World Café consultation for people who are Deafblind? The need to engage the lived experiences of Deafblind people and the professional gatekeepers of knowledge creation and transfer in the field of Deafblindness emerged as significant issues that posed multiple challenges. The need for good practice guidelines in regard to how to conduct research and policy consultation with this community emerged as a key priority for both Deafblind people and the professionals providing their support services. Subsequently, a phenomenological approach was used to explore the lived experience of Deafblind people and the professional perspectives of those who provide direct service to this group. The topic of inquiry was explored using a multimodal approach that included individual interviews, World Cafe focus groups and online surveys. The investigation took the form of fourseparate but interconnected studies that enabled Deafblind people and the professionals in the field to participate in the research, and also to contribute to the development of a good practice framework by evaluating the research process. The four studies were: Study 1) Preparing for inclusive consultation, research and policy development -insights from the field of Deafblindness; Study 2) Working with Deafblind people to develop a good practice approach to consultation and research activities; Study 3) Co- creating a more inclusive world - lessons from professionals in the field of Deafblindness, and; Study 4)Navigating research, policy and consultation processes involving people with diverse communication and support needs - insights from Deafblind sign language interpreters. The overall findings and recommendations were: 1) World Café methodology can be tailored to be a culturally safe, valid and trustworthy approach to seeking the experiences, opinions, skills and expertise of the Deafblind community; 2) World Café facilitators should seek to gain close relationships with CALD and disability groups by becoming insiders to the community, and culturally immersed in them over an extended period of time; 3) The Deafblind community could benefit from ongoing exposure to the epistemological perspective of Appreciative Inquiry at the level of consultation, research, policy, service delivery and clinical contexts; 4) Interpreters and professionals in the field of Deafblindness could benefit from training in research methodology and theory. Academics seeking to research the Deafblind community should obtain skills, knowledge and experience with Deafblind culture, community and sign language; 5) The Deafblind community could benefit from co-creating and designing research workshops that seek to inform, educate and train community members in theory, methodology and projects that have real- world/practical applications, and; 6) The “I Learn Share Model” could be extended to include Appreciative inquiry, co-creation, co-design and emancipatory principles by promoting a critical and participatory consciousness within the Deafblind community of “we inquire, we share, we learn, we create, we design and we implement”. This research has demonstrated that the inclusion of, and engagement with Deafblind people in the generation of new knowledge for the purposes of research and policy development is possible. The programme of research documented in this thesis demonstrates how this can best be achieved in ways that are scientifically robust and culturally appropriate.