Þjóðarspegillinn 2016: Conference in Social Sciences


28.10.2016 - 28.10.2016


Reykjavík, Iceland (view on map)


Dynamics of Hybridity - the SADC Regional Peacekeeping Training Centre

Research posterAnne Flaspöler, postdoctoral researcher at the EDDA Centre and UNU-GEST, presented her initial findings of her field research at the Social Sciences’ Conference organised by the Social Science Research Institute (SSRI) of the University of Iceland on the 28th October 2016.

Following the conference’s aim to introduce and share the wide spectrum of social science research in Iceland, Anne presented the factors that contribute to the hybrid nature of the Regional Peacekeeping Training Centre of the Southern African Development Community (SADC RPTC) in Harare, Zimbabwe.

African peacekeeping training centres are crucial institutions in preparing African peacekeepers for their deployment to international peace operations. They train peacekeepers in international standards of gender, human rights, code of conduct, protection of civilians and so on. However, as institutions, they are exposed to and mediate between international, continental, regional and national influences. Hence, the research aimed at exploring how these influences shape the training centre. Hybridity as an analytical framework provided the opportunity to look at the dynamics between the actors involved beyond the typical top-down power relations.

Defining the factors that create the dynamics which make up the hybrid character of the SADC Regional Peacekeeping Training Centre as an institution, Anne’s research identified the following:

  1. The centre’s ability to act autonomously;
  2. Its ability to attract inter-institutional collaborations;
  3. Its ability to resist, ignore and subvert donor intentions;
  4. And its ability to position itself (see figure presented on the poster).

In a next step, the aim is to test these factors with other regional peacekeeping training centres in Africa in order to gain a better picture of how these centres’ hybridity affects their training participants.

Gendered value chain analysis as a research methodology: small scale fisheries by lake Tanganyikaat

Lake Tanganyika, TanzaniaA conference session on gendered dimensions and gender roles at the Þjóðarspegill conference held at the University of Iceland 28 October included a talk presented by GEST on gendered value chain analysis as a research methodology within the social sciences and as an applied tool for informing development interventions.

GEST field research by lake Tanganyika in Tanzania is discussed, where the value chain in small scale fisheries is analysed, following the catch from the lake, to the market via multiple value chains. The research is conducted in collaboration with the United Nations University Fisheries Training Programme (UNU-FTP) and MATÍS. The presentation explores the opportunities this methodology offers for social inquiry and as an applied tool for informing development interventions, discussing preliminary findings from the first phase of the research.

The research is lead by Dr. Pétur Waldorff, who is currently in Tanzania for the second phase of field research, but the presentation was delivered by Erla Hlín Hjálmasdóttir, Head of Research at GEST.

research poster.

Playing the Gender Card": gendered dimensions within the rural water supply sector in Namibia

Himba woman gives water to a child.Erla Hlín Hjálmarsdóttir, GEST Head of Research presents her paper on the gendered dimensions within the rural water supply sector in Namibia at Þjóðarspegillinn conference 28 October.

The relevance of gender in rural water supply has been well established by a number of scholars. In this paper, the contradictory views of different actors for gender roles are explored, as well as how the gender pillar is manipulated by various actors within the development sphere.

The study examines four dimensions of gender within the rural water supply using Namibia as a case study: perspectives of different actors on gender roles in Namibia; how gender and culture are inevitably interwoven; gender roles in management of rural water resources; and how gender as an issue is used to manipulate outcomes, or how the 'gender card' is used in the development power play. Donors generally have deep concern for gender-related factors, such as women's management and participation in water projects and the positive impact water project have on the lives and status of girls and women. This enables different actors to use gender to set the development agenda and in some cases to string donors along. Conclusions also indicate that westernized development dialogue of gender roles in rural water supply is dualistic and that historical frameworks are of value for analyzing the gendered aspects of water.

GEST Project Assistant Laura Malinauskaite presenting her research on gendered impacts of climate policy

Laura Malinauskaite, a project assistant at GEST presented her masters’ research at the Social Sciences’ Conference organized by the Social Science Research Institute (SSRI) of the University of Iceland. This year the conference aimed to introduce and share research material from a broad spectrum of researchers within the Social Sciences in Iceland.
At the conference, Laura presented her research on the gender dimensions of climate change policy in the European context, which consists of the gender impact assessment of the Lithuanian climate change mitigation policy. In her qualitative research she collaborated with Dr. Jón Geir Pétursson, a senior lecturer at the University, and their findings suggest a strong gender relevance of climate policy in Lithuania and the European Union, and point to the need to address these issues through more gender-responsive policies.
The poster summarizing the research findings.