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NGOs + Ghana

miaashley's picture

For me one of the most fascinating aspects of sociology is the ability to study social problems on many different, seperate but interacting elements of people and power. One of my biggest frustrations when learning and trying to understand the unfamiliar is not knowing where problems or phenomenons are situated in and what elements influence them. I wish our education, was less linear but more cyclical, converging or intersecting. 

When I was in 10th grade I first learned about the IMF and World Bank in my humanities class. I did not fully understand what it meant. I didn't know just how powerful it was or how it was connected to and related to people across all levels of power, privlege, access and suffering. It is through my sociology courses that I learned about how the IMF and WB affect the Global South in detremental ways--feminizing poverty, exploiting labor, stripping access to resources and perpetuating neocolonial ideology and structure. I think it is important that how we learn, question and inquire goes beyond what is in front of us. Socio-historical context needs to be explored. Macro forces and institutions need to be taken into consideration just as much as micro forces and interactions between people. 

I want to push myself to apply this frame work I am trying to use in the education course in other realms as well. I am struggling to understand how I can use my background in education and sociology to inform my critical thinking in literature. For the first time I am understanding that the literature we read in 'teaching in the post colony' (fiction or nonfiction) can be used as data as much as 'data' can be analyzed and coded in sociology. I am realizing that I am not 'literate' in different disciplines. Most of my undergraduate education has been focused primarily in sociology and my ability to write and think in other disciplines is done through the language and frame work of sociology (how I think about methodology, research, structure, theory, etc). It is very difficult trying to even adjust my thought process and conceptualization of ideas and text in the literature class.


alesnick's picture

what is data?

Your naming literature as "data" is a really interesting cross-disciplinary move.  What does this naming enable?  What does it obscure?  Does it help you read literary texts as cultural production, rather than solely as the products of single writers/minds?

I once read a line of Cornel West's about how much of human suffering is socially, not naturally, induced.  And that a task in social justice work is to reduce socially induced suffering. 

Your focus on the IMF and WB seems to point this up -- like, in Dalun when we saw the river and learned of the yearly flooding, I wondered whether human (non)intervention is in play here -- and I talked with my dad about it, and he talked about how flooding used to take place in places in the US and doesn't now . . . flooding is then cultural, not only natural.