Gender, agency, and embodiment theories in relation to space in Gender, cities and local governance

Upphovsperson: Malmström, Maria Frederika
Utgivare: Nordiska Afrikainstitutet | Cairo : Centre d’Études et de Documentation Économiques, Juridiques et Sociales (CEDEJ)
År: 2011
Ämnesord: urban space, gender, embodiment, agency, Theory, female circumcision
Why (and how) is it important to query into the particular lived experiences and ‘embodied agency’ of women if we want to study urban spaces through the lens of gender?  This paper discusses this overarching question in relation to recent dynamic and generative theories of gender, embodiment and agency.  This theoretical framework connects subjects’ identities to dominant discourses and social structures with the help of lived experiences.  This is particularly fruitful because it makes it possible to analyse agents within a context of social, cultural and political change.  It also means the possibility to grasp women’s narratives and body language as they engage in acts of resistance, as well as the marking of body and space.  The actions of ‘the secret self’ among younger generations, for example, give increased space and have manipulative potential as long as these ‘morally forbidden’ and dishonourable acts are not brought out into the public sphere.  This approach is relevant since it is possible to analyse the singularity of experience, not only as a form of social interaction, but as linked to social structures and discourses, which implies negotiations of tensions, conflicts and uncertainties.  The need to understand agency as the capacity to act according to the exigencies of the specific socio-cultural forms the main premise of this paper; where each context comprises the complex interaction between the local and a variety of wider global forces.  My approach is to combine experience with representation through phenomenology and ethnography.  I use experience near ethnography that begins with women’s own practices and attends to how they understand themselves, how their bodies are involved in this process and how they live out norms and ideologies in their everyday lives.  Thereby we are able to understand how women’s realities and identities are interpreted, negotiated and constructed, and how the body actively is involved in these processes.

Inequality and Identity : Causes of War?

Upphovsperson: Holmqvist, Göran
Utgivare: Nordiska Afrikainstitutet, Globalization, Trade and Regional Integration |
År: 2012
Ämnesord: Africa, Civil war, conflicts, Social inequality, cultural identity, Intergroup relations, Social control, Theory, comparative analysis, SOCIAL SCIENCES, SAMHÄLLSVETENSKAP
In this paper, four theories on the causes of civil war are reviewed. One theory, associated with Paul Collier, emphasises feasibility over factors related to grievance. A second theory, espoused by Frances Stewart, focuses on the role of horizontal inequalities. The third theory, identified with William Zartman, highlights the different roles “need, creed and greed” factors play in various phases of a conflict. And the fourth theory, associated with the World Bank /World Development Report 2011, points out “commitment” problems leading to institutional failures as a crucial factor. Each of the theories leads to quite different policy conclusions. Their strengths and weaknesses, and their claimed empirical support, are discussed.In addition, some of the mechanisms underpinning the theories are highlighted on the basis of empirical data. In particular, the central role of horizontal inequalities between social groups is discussed.