Constructing transformative spaces, transforming gendered lives

Publication year: 

This dissertation focuses on the dynamics between PRA/participatory development and empowerment processes, particularly in the context of gendered relations of power. It starts with a critical discussion of existing literature around PRA, empowerment and gender, from which a theoretical framework is developed. It argues that PRA arenas are spaces of unusual social relations, where the participation of subordinated groups may be perceived as representing their 'empowerment', when in fact such observations are not necessarily indicative of people's 'empowerment' in the time-spaces in which their everyday lives are played out. Drawing on Foucault's notion of 'heterotopian spaces', it then explores whether people's participation in PRA events, their performance of unusual social relations in this constructed arena, can engender their own critical questioning and sustainable transformation of their everyday social relations in everyday time-spaces. Focussing on the particular approach to PRA practiced by the Society for People's Education and Economic Change (SPEECH) and their work within a situated community in Tamil Nadu, southern India, the author centers the analysis around the constructions and practices of gendered relations of power within different time-spaces, and the transformations engendered through the multiple dimensions of SPEECH's work with the community. In doing so, it examines the processes through which 'empowerment' might be re-performed and extended beyond PRA arenas into people's everyday lives.

Source publication information
Dissertation for MPhil (Development Studies) at the University of Sussex
67p. + Appendices
Available at IDS for reference