DSA PhD Thesis Prize 2023 winner
PhD candidate Owen Frazer from the International Development Department, University of Birmingham has been announced the winner of the DSA’s PhD Thesis Prize for his work entitled: “The Theory and Practice of Mediation as Framing: Breaking Impasses in the El Salvador Peace Negotiations“
In 2022, the DSA unveiled a new thesis prize for PhD students working in the field of international development, development studies and development economics. This is an annual prize awarded to the best PhD thesis in these fields of studies from across current DSA Institutional Members.
The panel agreed that this thesis was very interesting, very well written, and developed a highly rigorous and impressive methodology for understanding the impact of mediation in negotiation processes. Through its case study of the 1990-92 peace negotiations in El Salvador, the thesis explores moments of impasse to understand the role of the mediator in framing and reframing the nature of the problem at hand, the process of negotiation itself and opportunities for transformation towards renewed interaction and ultimately to peace. It develops an innovative and impressive methodology for analysing impact of mediation, and its forensic analysis of a range of archival, interview and other sources is done very well. The panel agreed that this was a worthy winner of the DSA prize, and the research was likely to have a significant impact both on research on these processes, and on practice.
Owen will receive £350, plus the offer of full funding to attend DSA2023 to present their research in person.
Kaveri Medappa from the Department of International Development, University of Sussex was highly commended and wins £150 prize and free entry to DSA 2023 for her thesis: Chasing Targets, Making Life : An ethnographic study of platform-based cab drivers and food delivery workers in Bengaluru, India
One of the strengths of the thesis is the way it demonstrates nuanced, careful attention to detail in the fieldwork through showing the extreme variability in the category of ‘worker’ and how this influences workers’ interactions with the platform and in turn shapes their work, ambitions and earning potentials. There is clear and clever integration of theory and empirical data throughout the chapters, supporting their novel focus. It is unusual to see theory used so confidently – we remarked that the theoretical reflections were simply written and yet are present throughout the thesis, in tandem with empirical data. Finally, the thesis itself was immaculately presented and a pleasure to read; we can see it translating with ease to an accessible monograph.