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Gender Myths and Feminist Fables: The Struggle for Interpretive Power in Gender and Development

Andrea Cornwall (Editor), Elizabeth Harrison (Editor), Ann Whitehead (Editor)
ISBN: 978-1-4051-6937-0
184 pages
April 2008, Wiley-Blackwell
Gender Myths and Feminist Fables: The Struggle for Interpretive Power in Gender and Development (1405169370) cover image
This collection brings together leading feminist thinkers who examine the struggles for interpretive power which underlies international development.
  • Questions why the insights from years of feminist gender and development research are so often turned into ‘gender myths’ and ‘feminist fables’: women are more likely to care for the environment; are better at working together; are less corrupt; have a seemingly infinite capacity to survive
  • Explores how bowdlerized and impoverished representations of gender relations have simultaneously come to be embedded in development policy and practice
  • Traces the ways in which language and images of development are related to practice and provides a nuanced account of the politics of knowledge production
  • Argues that struggles for interpretive power are not only important for our own sake, but also for the implications they have for women’s lives worldwide
  • An informed analysis of how ‘gender’ has been transformed in its transfer into development policy and how many authors are now revisiting and reflecting on their earlier work
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1. Gender Myths and Feminist Fables: The Struggle for Interpretive Power in Gender and Development (Andrea Cornwall, Elizabeth Harrison and Ann Whitehead).

2. A Bigger Piece of a Very Small Pie: Intrahousehold Resource Allocation and Poverty Reduction in Africa (Bridget O’Laughlin).

3. The Construction of the Myth of Survival (Mercedes González de la Rocha).

4. Earth Mother Myths and Other Ecofeminist Fables: How a Strategic Notion Rose and Fell (Melissa Leach).

5. Political Cleaners: Women as the New Anti-Corruption Force? (Anne Marie Goetz).

6. Resolving Risk? Marriage and Creative Conjugality (Cecile Jackson).

7. Feminism, Gender, and Women’s Peace Activism (Judy El-Bushra).

8. Myths To Live By? Female Solidarity and Female Autonomy Reconsidered (Andrea Cornwall).

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Andrea Cornwall is a Fellow at the Institute of Development Studies at the University of Sussex, where she works on the politics of participation, sexualities and development, masculinities and women’s empowerment. She is Director of the DFID-funded Research Programme Consortium Pathways of Women’s Empowerment.

Elizabeth Harrison
is an anthropologist at the University of Sussex. Her work has been broadly within the anthropology of development, with a particular interest in institutional dynamics and in the deployment of policies for gender justice. She has conducted research primarily in sub-Saharan Africa and, more recently, in Europe.

Ann Whitehead
teaches anthropology and gender and development at the University of Sussex. She has written extensively within the fields of gender and development, feminist anthropology and the anthropology of rural Ghana.
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  • Questions why the insights from years of feminist gender and development research are so often turned into ‘gender myths’ and ‘feminist fables’
  • Explores how bowdlerized and impoverished representations of gender relations have simultaneously come to be embedded in development policy and practice
  • Traces the ways in which language and images of development are related to practice and provides a nuanced account of the politics of knowledge production
  • Argues that struggles for interpretive power are not only important for our own sake, but also for the implications they have for women’s lives worldwide
  • An informed analysis of how ‘gender’ has been transformed in its transfer into development policy and how many authors are now revisiting and reflecting on their earlier work
See More

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