Participatory mapping's ability to empower its users has come under severe reproach by many scholars. Drawing on these critiques, this ex-post mapping study of the mountain village of Rio Negro, Honduras that employed participatory mapping to prioritize access to electricity through hydro-microturbines echoes and extends these critiques. However, prevailing power structures within the community impacted the decision-making processes, affecting the outcomes of the participatory mapping project. Through various political and social interventions, village elites were able to influence the distribution of the microturbines, further enhancing differences in marginalization and empowerment within the community. Elites successfully directed the participatory mapping exercise toward their interests and continue today to reap the multiple benefits of electrical access. This dissertation assesses how participatory mapping in this exemplary case reinforced existing conditions of marginalization and empowerment over the long term.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. August 2015. Major: Geography. Advisor: Francis Harvey. 1 computer file (PDF); ix, 234 pages.
Electricity, Marginalization, and Empowerment: For Whom? And Who Decides? Evaluating Participatory Mapping in Río Negro, Honduras.
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