This dissertation is an ethnographic case study of a community-based teaching program (CBTP) in public health at a medical college in South India that explored how the CBTP produced particular ways of seeing and understanding rural and urban poor communities. Drawing from critical, feminist, and postcolonial scholars, I suggest that the knowledge produced in the CBTP can be understood as "science/fictions", that is, as cultural texts shaped by transnational development discourses as well as medical teachers' and students' sociospatial imaginations of the rural and urban poor. I explored how these science/fictions mediated medical students' performative actions and interactions with a rural and an urban poor community in the context of the CBTP. At the same time, I also examined how knowledge produced in students' encounters with these communities disrupted their naturalized understandings about these communities, and how it was taken up to renarrativize science/fictions anew.Data collection and analyses procedures were informed by critical ethnographic and critical discourse analysis approaches. Data sources includes field notes constructed from observations of the CBTP, interviews with medical teachers and students, and curricular texts including the standardized national textbook of public health.The findings of this study illustrate how the CBTP staged the government and technology as central actors in the production of healthy bodies, communities, and environments, and implicitly positioned medical teachers and students as productive citizens of a modern nation while rural and urban poor communities were characterized sometimes as empowered, and at other times as not-yet-modern and in need of reform.However, the community also constituted an alternate pedagogical site of engagement in that students' encounters with community members disrupted students' assumptions about these communities to an extent. Nevertheless, institutionalized practices of assessment, and epistemological and ontological understandings of the nature of science tended to privilege the standardized curriculum and popular cultural stereotypes as scientific knowledge thereby excluding the place-based narratives of local communities, medical students, and teachers. This study, therefore, argues that interactions with local communities in community-based education and development programs cannot democratize knowledge production in medical education without a simultaneous engagement with post-foundational epistemologies in the social sciences and humanities.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. August 2014. Major: Organizational Leadership, Policy, and Development. Advisor: Dr. Joan DeJaeghere. 1 computer file (PDF); xi, 304 pages, appendices p. 285-304.
Arur, Aditi Ashok.
Producing "science/fictions" about the rural and urban poor: community-based learning at a medical college in South India.
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