Poverty reduction lies at the heart of development discourses and practice. Yet it is a notion which is rooted in Enlightenment thought, and increasingly questioned by the intellectual currents which deny universalist ideas of progress and well-being. Similarly, much western feminism also invokes the promise of modernity, and faces postist challenges. This article looks at postmodernist arguements which critique the universalising character of current poverty reduction approaches – Sen's capabilities framework in particular – for what they signify for GAD's own emerging agenda on poverty: gender relationships. It attempts to indicate a way through what can be experienced as a disempowering critique. It does this by bringing together ‘materialist’ and ‘culturalist’ perspectives on poverty in the idea of the embodied subjectivity of women which transcends physical/mental dualism. The article draws on the work of Nancy Fraser and Seyla Benhabib towards a more discursively oriented way of thinking about gendered poverty and development. It also argues for the validity of universalist concepts of gender justice, and envisages a role for development intervention.
|Number of pages||11|
|Publication status||Published - 1997|