Date of Thesis



This honors thesis is an anthropological exploration of women's cooperatives in two regions of rural Morocco. Specifically, I am interested in how contemporary development projects such as the cooperative are understood by the peoples of these regions. By conducting first-hand ethnographic research among women's cooperatives in two drastically different environments of rural Morocco, I gain further insight into the roles that culture and geography play in determining the 'success' of cooperatives inlocal communities. In using the term 'success,' I will compare notions of success as used by both Western development organizations as well as local people in Morocco. I examine and analyze the very delicate and complex interaction that occurs between largely Western development agencies and local cultures particularly through the lens of gender. I will also convey the importance of an exchange of cultural practices through development projects rather than the imposition of one cultural system on another. In writing this thesis, I hope to contribute to the growing field of the anthropologyof development, a subset of cultural anthropology that examines international development practices and the economic, social, and political factors that have an impact on the local culture. I examine cooperatives from the perspectives of both the people whoparticipate in them through personal interviews as well as development institutions through an ongoing body of published literature. Focusing on gender implications that such development initiatives have on the rural cultures of Morocco, I argue that gender identities are crucial aspects of local cultures that must be addressed within development practices. On a broader scale, I argue that a deeper knowledge of local cultures is essential if development agencies are to be 'successful' in non-Western cultures.


Development Anthropology, International Development, Gender and Development, Women in Morocco

Access Type

Honors Thesis (Bucknell Access Only)



First Advisor

Michelle Cecilia Johnson