Implication of the cultural influence on development discourse manifested in the interaction of Cambodian and "Western" discourse on development issues
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Cambodia has a strong presence of international donor agencies and expatriate development practitioners. The role of international donors in making government increasingly gender responsive is believed to be immense. This thesis contends that most expatriate and Cambodian development practitioners have different perceptions on the issue due to cultural influences. Due to these differences sometimes there emerge incongruence in the approach (that is often determined by international players) and the beliefs of most national practitioners who are responsible to implement these approaches. The problem of domestic violence is used as a case in point to demonstrate this incongruence. The thesis argues that the differences in views do not get discussed and thereafter resolved because the communication processes being followed are not open and dialogical in nature. It suggests that there are two primary reasons that come in the way of dialogic communication. One is related to the hierarchically different positions that expatriates and Cambodian practitioners occupy in the context of development work. The other is related to the difference in the perceptions of the practitioners depending on their degree of connectedness with the cultural setting. The thesis concludes that there is a need for introspection by the development practitioners for the reasons that may lie within them and their organizations for this communication gap. This is essential for initiating communication processes that are open so that the development practitioners may begin to arrive at common understanding as well as trusting relationships. The study is conducted following the tenets of the ??????naturalistic inquiry?????? as proposed by Lincoln and Guba (1985).