Master’s Award in Development Studies to Anna Reetta Korhonen from the University of Helsinki

November 20, 2013

Master’s Award in Development Studies 2013 to Anna-Reetta Korhonen from the University of Helsinki

UniPID and the Finnish Society for Development Research awardedAnna-Reetta Korhonenthe Master’s Award in Development Studies 2013 at theNordic Conference for Development Researchin Espoo on 14thNovember. Korhonen received a prize sum of 1000 euros for her development studies thesis "Oman arvo: Etelä-Meksikon Oaxanan osavaltion yhteisöradiot intiaaniuden uudelleenmuokkaamisen tiloina"completed at the University of Helsinki.

In her thesis, Korhonen examined the effects of community radios in reshaping indigenous peoples’ identities in the state of Oaxaca in Southern Mexico, combining successfully the themes of development and communication as well as power and resistance. In her acceptance speech at the award ceremony, Korhonen remembered the process of finding and exploring the inspiring research topic and acknowledged especially her thesis tutorUllamaija Kivikuru’ssupport.

This was the second year for giving this award, and this year in total 17 theses participated in the competition. The award selection board comprised of emeritus professorReijo E. Heinonen, who acted as the chair of the board and emeritus professorsRauni RäsänenandOlavi Luukkanen. When ranking the theses, the board focused especially on the societal applicability and impact, and innovativeness of the work.

According to the award committee, the winning thesis, which covers three Mexican villages with their indigenous languages, clearly shows that Korhonen hasin-depth knowledge of the research area, the context of the study and research methods. She is also able to find connections between community radios and the freirean, emancipatory approach. Korhonen also came to innovative conclusions by suggesting, for example, that the traditional world views of the indigenous peoples, such as respecting mother earth, are reinforced and given new kind of legitimacy when combined with the modern discourse on environmental protection. Through this, the perspective of the thesis becomes international and appealing for different research areas.

Two other outstanding theses were also awarded, receiving 250 euros each. Second prize was given toHilkka Jokinen, also from the University of Helsinki, for her thesis in African studies "Regaining agency? An Ethnographic Case Study of Women's Associative Practices in Luapula, Zambia"and the third prize was given to Aalto University’sLaura Kangasfor her thesis in Finnish Business Communication "The WTO and ambiguous language of development. A rhetorical analysis of the development discourse of the World Trade Organization".

The award is given annually to an accomplished Master's thesis related to global development or development studies.