Neoliberalism and the international gender-development agenda: escaping lyrical metaphorical seduction in the Solomon Islands

Dyer, Michelle (2015) Neoliberalism and the international gender-development agenda: escaping lyrical metaphorical seduction in the Solomon Islands. In: Proceedings of the Australian Sociological Society Conference. pp. 116-122. From: TASA 2015: Australian Sociological Society Conference: neoliberalism and contemporary challenges for the Asia-Pacific, 23-26 November 2015, Cairns, QLD, Australia.

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Abstract

Neoliberal economic rationalizations promote gender equality and women's empowerment as instrumental to economic development and social justice. Women are simultaneously portrayed as victims and saviours, not only for themselves but for their families, societies and the environment. These neoliberal interpretations of gender equality and action are decontextualized and largely blame culture and social norms for underdevelopment without challenging structural causes of poverty and oppression. However, such formulations are attractive because they are morally uplifting and offer visions of hope and triumph. Using empirical evidence from a logging dispute in a Solomon Islands village, I examine how framing women's action in this incident as women's resistance fulfils neoliberal visions of women's role in sustainable development but fails to capture the reality of gender relations. I touch briefly on a construction of agency in neoliberal discourse about women's empowerment that is based on individual free will and structurally dislocated. I argue that escaping seductive lyrical metaphors is necessary for an understanding of gender relations grounded in indigenous epistemologies and an expanded conceptualisation of agency.

Item ID: 42957
Item Type: Conference Item (Research - E1)
ISBN: 978-0-646-94798-3
Keywords: gender, neoliberalism, development, Solomon Islands, agency
Date Deposited: 29 Feb 2016 03:36
FoR Codes: 16 STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY > 1699 Other Studies in Human Society > 169901 Gender Specific Studies @ 50%
16 STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY > 1699 Other Studies in Human Society > 169905 Studies of Pacific Peoples Societies @ 50%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970116 Expanding Knowledge through Studies of Human Society @ 100%
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