Developing Transnational Relations and Subjectivities: The Politics of Virtue and Empowerment in Gilgit, Northern Pakistan (Essay) - Resources for Feminist Research

Developing Transnational Relations and Subjectivities: The Politics of Virtue and Empowerment in Gilgit, Northern Pakistan (Essay)

By Resources for Feminist Research

  • Release Date - Published: 2007-09-22
  • Book Genre: Social Science
  • Author: Resources for Feminist Research
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Developing Transnational Relations and Subjectivities: The Politics of Virtue and Empowerment in Gilgit, Northern Pakistan (Essay) Resources for Feminist Research read online review & book description:

Scholarly discussions of globalization have recently expanded from a debate about its defining characteristics, to include a focus on complex transnational flows of people, culture, and power. (1) While many feminists have attended to the trajectories and effects of economic power in a globalizing world, few have contributed to the discussion of cultural processes affected through the movement of people around the world. Deborah Mindry (2001) is a notable exception. In her work she contributes to our understanding of cultural globalization by investigating the "moral politics of virtue" that shapes transnational relationships among women from the "First" and "Third" worlds, primarily through international non-govemmental organization (NGO) interventions. Mindry's ethnographic research, conducted with various women's associations in South Africa, demonstrates that NGO fundraising in the West, as well as grassroots development activity itself, are partially enabled through a feminized "global family" philosophy that depicts privileged Western women (2) --who ostensibly have a "natural" connection to and responsibility for their sisters abroad --as benevolent liberators of poor, "simple," and "oppressed Third World Women." Mindry claires that NGO rescue narratives about poor women in far-flung places are infused with this politics of feminine virtue, which satisfies Western women's concerns for their global sisters' well-being even as it (re)constitutes their own gender identities as selfless and nurturing mothers. This feminine sense of self, with its domestic and benevolent facets, is rooted in intersecting discourses of gender and imperialism which were circulating globally as early as the Victorian era when Western women travelled abroad to "enlighten" their colonized sisters.

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