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Feminism and the Anthropology of 'Development'

Dilemmas in Rural Mexico

Julia E. Murphy

Keywords: anthropology of ‘development’; Calakmul; engaged anthropology; feminist anthropology; gender and development; Mexico

Feminist promotion of gender equity in development began in the 1970s, challenging development policy and practice and producing a rich body of debate and scholarship. Feminist anthropologists, through scholarship and activism, made important contributions to the project of reforming development. A recent anthropological critique of development, however, referred to as the anthropology of 'development', has raised important questions about anthropology's relationship to development, presenting new challenges to feminist anthropologists who would engage with development. This new approach, despite its attention to power, has not had questions about gender at its centre. Drawing on fieldwork in southeastern Campeche, Mexico, this paper explores challenges of a feminist anthropology of 'development', including pressures for engagement and disengagement, and the apparent contradiction between reflexive critiques of, and feminist engagements with, development.

Affiliations

Murphy, Julia E. - Mount Royal Unviersity