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What a Feminist Curiosity Contributes to the Study of Development

  • Erin BeckEmail author
Article

Abstract

This essay explores the various ways that women and gender have been included in international development thinking and practice by tracing the origins of the field of gender and development alongside its central debates, concepts, and accomplishments. This overview demonstrates that feminists have expanded the scope of development research and practice to include issues previously ignored but now recognized as central to development, and have provided more nuanced accounts of development by probing the underlying assumptions of development policy. In so doing, it argues, feminists have exposed the gendered nature of transnational flows and transformations, and have tracked their effects down to the level of diverse women and men’s daily lives. Drawing on the contributions in this special issue, this essay then highlights the multiple advantages of applying what Cynthia Enloe labeled a “feminist curiosity” to the study of development. By refusing to take the current state of affairs as natural or given, and refusing to accept as trivial women’s diverse lives and experiences, the papers in this special issue go beyond highlighting how international development efforts differentially affect women and men to demonstrating how women, men, and gender ideologies in particular places—whether development agencies, academic institutions, or local communities—critically shape international development itself.

Keywords

Development Gender Women Feminist Globalization 

Notes

Acknowledgements

The author would like to thank Jane Jaquette and the two anonymous reviewers for their comments on this piece.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of OregonEugeneUSA

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