Dilemmas of Difference: Indigenous Women and the Limits of Postcolonial Development Policy
In Dilemmas of Difference Sarah A. Radcliffe explores the relationship of rural indigenous women in Ecuador to the development policies and actors that are ostensibly there to help ameliorate social and economic inequality. Radcliffe finds that development policies’s inability to recognize and reckon with the legacies of colonialism reinforces long-standing social hierarchies, thereby reproducing the very poverty and disempowerment they are there to solve. This ineffectiveness results from failures to acknowledge the local population's diversity and a lack of accounting for the complex intersections of gender, race, ethnicity, class, and geography. As a result, projects often fail to match beneficiaries' needs, certain groups are made invisible, and indigenous women become excluded from positions of authority. Drawing from a mix of ethnographic fieldwork and postcolonial and social theory, Radcliffe centers the perspectives of indigenous women to show how they craft practices and epistemologies that critique ineffective development methods, inform their political agendas, and shape their strategic interventions in public policy debates.
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