Development goals for the new millennia: discourse analysis of the evolution of the 2001 millennium development goals and 2015 sustainable development goals

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Through critical discourse analysis, this thesis explores the construction of poverty and development within and across the United Nations Millennium Development Goals and the proposed post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals texts.

Through critical discourse analysis, this thesis explores the construction of poverty and development within and across the United Nations Millennium Development Goals and the proposed post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals texts. The proposed post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals frame the international development landscape for the next 15 years, therefore it becomes imperative for civil society to understand their dominant economic schemes for poverty alleviation in order to adopt or oppose similar methods of poverty abatement. Deductively, this thesis investigates Keynesianism and neoliberalism, the dominant economic discourses whose deployments within the goals have shaped transnational frameworks for interpreting and mitigating poverty. It assesses the failures of the Millennium Development Goals, as articulated both by its creators and critics, and evaluates the responsiveness of the United Nations in the constitution of the proposed post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals in relation to these critiques through the lens of liberal feminist and World Social Forum discourses. These activist and oppositional social discourses embody competing values, representations, and problem-solution frames that challenge and resist the dominant economic discourses in both sets of goals. Additionally, this thesis uses an inductive approach to critically analyze both sets of goals in order to identify any emergent discursive frameworks grounded in each text that assist in understanding the problems of, and solutions to, poverty.