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Women as center: The process of an alternative development paradigm for the Eastern Caribbean

Alexandrina Deschamps, University of Massachusetts Amherst


The current debate about women and gender in development, sustainable development, and the impact of western development systems on Third World countries, has provided the primary impetus for this study. The ongoing debate is between two opposing view points, profit-oriented and people-oriented. This study focuses primarily on the newly independent Eastern Caribbean States, former British colonies referred to as the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS). The Caribbean as a region has largely been lumped together with Latin America, and these nation states have not attracted many scholars to examine or investigate their intrinsic development and political systems. My intent is not to present a definite or fixed model, but to suggest an alternative development paradigm for the Eastern Caribbean. The specific contours of the transformation process would vary from one nation or area to another, depending on particular individualized circumstances. The broad based principles of the transformation process would nevertheless be applicable to the larger Caribbean region, as well as other Less Industrialized Countries. I drew on grounded theory and qualitative research to describe and analyze the practices and factors that characterize a development project in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. This approach is particularly appropriate for a topic which is multi-dimensional in its investigation. Using multiple qualitative data sources and the involvement of the investigator as a researcher and participant observer to the social environment of the chosen site, allowed for the greatest possible depth and richness in this study. It included opportunities for observations of the formal and informal processes of the project implementation. The proposed alternative paradigm includes factors such as development that redefines growth; development in which women play a central, active and guiding role; development which revitalizes indigenous culture and identity; development that empowers the poor majority and builds a basis for genuine democracy; development that permits a spectrum of political and economic options and experiments. The practical outcome is that Eastern Caribbean Nations and Less Industrialized Countries no longer have to adhere rigidly to one paradigm to guide their development path.

Subject Area

Social research|Womens studies|Social structure

Recommended Citation

Deschamps, Alexandrina, "Women as center: The process of an alternative development paradigm for the Eastern Caribbean" (1996). Doctoral Dissertations Available from Proquest. AAI9619382.