Wood, Peter D. A. (2016). Urban development and political participation in Foz do Iguaçu, Brazil. Doctoral dissertation (Geography), Florida State University.

Abstract: In my dissertation I evaluate perspectives of development participation in Foz do Iguaçu, Brazil. Using semi-structured interviews and Q methodology, I assess what priorities exist in Foz economic strategies, what groups are perceived to be over- and under-represented in local Foz politics, and what worldviews are prominent among stakeholders in Foz urban development. Brazil is a key example of a developing country whose regional and global roles differ. Within South and Latin America, Brazilian influence is often hegemonic and indicative of regional economic and political trends. At the global scale, Brazil’s hegemonic strength is less clear. Processes of urban development in Brazil intersect political, economic, and cultural questions from multiple scales (neighborhood, city, state, country etc.). Commonly visible in these processes are marginality and subalternity, expressions of inequality and subjugation to higher rule or authority. Within my project, I aim to measure perspectives on development among local stakeholders in order to test for populations and worldviews that are underrepresented in Brazilian development planning and decision-making. I use semi-structured interviews and archival research to explore the views of residents in Foz do Iguaçu, Brazil, and neighboring cities. These interview data are used to form statements for Q analysis in the same region. In the resulting analyses I find two areas of needed scholarly and policy attention: trans-border political participation and critical urban geopolitics. From my collected data, I argue that development politics require better understanding and implementation of integrative approaches, both demographically and ideologically. I also draw attention to the roles of researchers accessing such knowledge in foreign contexts, arguing that cross-cultural geographic study (particularly using Q methodology) can be a useful tool for reciprocative knowledge exchange.

Peter Wood <peter.david.arnould.wood@gmail.com> is a postdoctoral fellow in demography at the Federal University of Minas Gerais in Belo Horizonte, Brazil. His work focuses on migration, violence and political participation in Global South development projects.

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