In her summary of important points to retain from the ‘Gender Myths and Feminist Fables’ workshop, Anne Marie Goetz made a useful distinction between the politics of development with a capital ‘P’ and feminism as micropolitics that aims, among other things, to push for institutional changes that further greater equity.
An overriding preoccupation, expressed throughout the workshop, concerns the nature of the varied obstacles standing in the way of a feminist practice in development. It was argued that these obstacles range from selective appropriations of gender concepts by various international aid bureaucracies to the “domestication” of feminist agenda (and of “technologies” such as gender training), to the effects of global neo-liberal policies that have altered the terrain upon which claims to rights and entitlements could be articulated. It is possible to detect two parallel strands running through these discussions: one is an “internal” critique of how various concepts and approaches generated in the course of scholarly engagement with gender and development issues have fared in practice, the other is an evaluation of how changing global economic and political conjunctures are modifying the very terms of the debates we engage in. I would like to situate this brief intervention into the latter strand, namely, an interrogation of the effects of politics with a capital ‘P’.
This article comes from the IDS Bulletin 35.4 (2004) Political Fiction Meets Gender Myth: Post‐conflict Reconstruction, “Democratisation” and Women’s Rights