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Discordant connections

discourses on gender and grassroots activism in two forest communities in India and Sweden

Arora-Jonsson, Seema (2009). Discordant connections. Signs. 35 :1 , 213-240
[Research article]

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/599259


The importance of gender-equality and of women’s work in relation to the environment are considered to be crucial questions for development in ‘third world’ rural societies. ‘Development’ and a certain standard of welfare make these issues appear to be less urgent in a wealthier country like Sweden. In this paper I trace some of the contradictions and connections in the ways in which gender equality is conceptualised in women’s struggles vis á vis environmental issues in rural areas in Sweden and India. The paper throws light on two important insights: first, that in Sweden where gender equality has been actively pursued as the bedrock of modern societal organizing, the space to organize as women in relation to environmental issues was hedged around with ambiguities. Second, development discourses about equality and empowerment of oppressed third world women bear not only on how gender equality is conceptualised and practiced in the South but also shape the space for gender equality in the North. Analysing the two cases in relation to each other reveals the travel of ideas and conversations across distances. While ideas about the independent, empowered woman are used to deny agency to women’s collectives in India, gendered discrimination has taken different forms in Sweden, making it more difficult to contest. Understanding how this takes place opens an opportunity for interruption in an order and in a space that appears to have become narrower under the umbrella of development, welfare, and growth. It brings into question the category of development both in a Southern but especially so in a Northern context where the North and especially Sweden is taken as referent for questions of development and gender equality.

Authors/Creators:Arora-Jonsson, Seema
Title:Discordant connections
Subtitle:discourses on gender and grassroots activism in two forest communities in India and Sweden
Series Name/Journal:Signs
Year of publishing :2009
Page range:213-240
Publisher:University of Chicago Press
Publication Type:Research article
Article category:Scientific peer reviewed
Version:Published version
Full Text Status:Public
Agris subject categories.:X Agricola extesions > X80 Social sciences, humanities and education
Subjects:(A) Swedish standard research categories 2011 > 5 Social Sciences > 504 Sociology > Sociology (excluding Social work, Social Psychology and Social Anthropology)
(A) Swedish standard research categories 2011 > 5 Social Sciences > 504 Sociology > Social Anthropology
Keywords:gender, forest communities, India, Sweden
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Additional ID:
Type of IDID
Alternative URL:http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1086/599259
ID Code:9019
Department:(NL, NJ) > Dept. of Urban and Rural Development
(LTJ, LTV) > Dept. of Urban and Rural Development
Deposited By: Seema Arora-Jonsson
Deposited On:04 Sep 2012 14:03
Metadata Last Modified:02 Dec 2014 10:51

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