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Studies in Nepali  History and Society (Vol. 21 No. 2 December 2016)
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Studies in Nepali History and Society (Vol. 21 No. 2 December 2016)
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Introduction

Women’s empowerment has become a popular term used by diverse and often contradictorily positioned ideologies and actors. Evolved from grassroots social movements in the 1970s; to its adoption by feminists concerned with development in the 1980a; to being firmly embedded in mainstream development “ industry” as a Poverty alleviation approach in the 1990s; the discourse of women ‘s empowerment has witnessed several dramatic and paradoxical shifts in terms of is language and scope over the past two decades.

The concept of women’s empowerment appears to be an outcome of several debates generated particularly by the third the third world feminist movement which , with primary influence from freire‘s popular education movement, evolved a distinct approach to grassroots empowerment that mainly focused on deepening critical consciousness and mobilizing collective action to challenge generated power elations (Batliwala 1994; Freire 1996). In the 1980s , (Women ‘s) empowerment entered development discourse when gender and development approach rooted in Third world women’s experiences and problems (Batliwala 1994; Parpart, Rai and Satudt 2002). Much of the GAD analysis of empowerment focused on unpacking different dimension of power: power over, power to, power with, and power within . In the mid - 199s, empowerment got in corporate in mainstream development thinking and practice with the popularization of the discourse through GAD platforms on ne hand and rise of neoliberalism on the other with the adoption of empowerment by mainstream development world,, its meaning and practice began to shift form collective and structural changes to expert - induced technical interventions focused on individual entrepreneurial growth, largely driven by neoliberal ideas of economics development (Leve : Sharma 2008).

While there have been several critiques of the appropriation of women’s empowerment by mainstream development practice (Batiwala 2007; critical of the feminist empowerment discourse. Marchand and Parpart (1995) , in particular, argue that while the discourses shifted the attention to homogenous lived experiences and problems assumption of their homogenous lived experiences and problems essentialized third world women while overshadowing very real differences between them. This paper is set within the premise of this post - structuralist feminist critique and aims to explore intersectional axes and identities that shape women ‘s lives and experiences and complicate the notion of empowerment.

The Paper builds its foundation in ethnographic and theoretical works that have questioned the simplistic understanding and practices of women’s lives and experiences and complicate notion empowerment. empowerment , especially in the context of Nepal . Tamang (200) argues that the development initiatives of state and non-state actors in Nepal in the name of women ‘s lived experiences . In a country like Nepal , various forms of gender norms an patriarchal arrangement exist in different communities that create different realities for women . therefore, efforts at developing Nepali women “need to g beyond one size fits all” policies and program and work towards developing an understanding and knowledge With and of women who have definite ideas about their own wants and needs based on their experience of oppression and struggle (Tamang 2002: 161).

Rankin (2001), in the context of her ethnographic work on micro-finance unifying solidarity amongst women, and she shows how such programs of unifying solidarity amongst women., and she shows how such programs overlook interactions among multiple social locations an hierarchies such as caste , class , ethnicity , and age . she opines that the programs aim to generate the subjectivity of the “rational economic woman “ who is easily capital in income - generating enterprises that will contribute to the economics security and social well- being of their household . Instead , the programs’ faulty assumptions and oversight result in their unacknowledged role in reinforcing existing gender , caste , and class hierarchies.

Leve (2007), in her seminal paper based on an evaluation of USAID’s empowerment program in the 1990s , argued that – although poles apart in their ideologies – both feminists that although poles apart in their ideologies- both feminists and development discourse s of empowerment share a common assumption in that they view empowerment share a common assumption in that they view empowerment as an evolutionary process and transformation is subjectivity that will lead to concrete positive actions. While feminist discourses and project seek to create political citizen for just and equitable change through resistance and mobilization, development projects attempt to produce self- regulating entrepreneurial individuals who know how to function properly in a free-market society . Leve concludes that, contrary to the assumption of empowerment programs , women ‘s subjectivity is not defined in terms of autonomy but shaped through social relations and obligation.

This Homogenization of the category “women” and the assumption of linear changes by mainstream feminist and development discourse and practices of empowerment overlook complex realities of Nepali Women who are differently situated by intersections of gender and social relations and whose agency is shaped by such structural and discursive contexts. This Paper examines how women’s intersectional gender identities and multiple manifestations of agency shape their experiences and perceptions of empowerment in the context of their participation in a poverty reduction empowerment project.

Contents

Articles  
Rethinking Empowerment : Gender Identities, Agency, and Women's Empowerment Discourse and Practice in Nepal - Anjam singh 227
Wandering of a spirit: Making sense of an Untimely Death in the sinja valley of Jumla - Samuuele Pletti 251
Ethnic Politics and Religion among Janajatis is an Eastern Tarai town - Chudamani Banset 283
Like Mother , Like Child?: Understanding Transition in diet, Health, and Nutrition in Humla , Nepal - Michelle U. Grocke and Kimber Haddix Mckay 305
Manadeva Samvat : Old Problem , New Evidence - Gautama. Vajracharya 333
Notes from the Archive  
Documents Related to the early Hospitals in Nepal - Yogesh raj , Deepak Aryal and sahrmik Mishra 347
Book Review  
Kul Cahndra Gautam. 2015. Lost in transition: Rebuilding Nepal from the Maoist Mayhem and Mega Earthquake - by Avash Bhandari 401
Punam Yadav . 2016. social transformation in Post - Conflict Nepal : A Gender Perspective - by Sachin Ghimire 405
Sharada Prasad Wasti , Padam simkhada and Edwin van Teijlingen, eds. 215. the Dynamics of Health in Nepal - by sachin Ghimie 409
Alaka Atreya chudal. 2016 A Freethinking cultural Nationalist : A Life History of Rahul sanskrityayan - by Ajapa Sharma 415
Nihar R . Nayak . 2014. strategic Himalayas: Republicam Nepal and external Powers - by sherya Paudel 420
Kailash Rai , ed. 2073 v.s. Pahicanko khoji : Adivasi Janajati Mahilaka Samajik , samskritik, Rajnitik sandarva (2016-2073) - by Subah Ghale 426
Janak Raj Sapkota . 2016. Kahar : Vaidesik Rojgarlie Bitolido Samaj - by Mahesh Raj Maharajan 430
Rihard burghart. 2016 The History of Janakpuradham: A study of Asceticism and the Hndu Polity - by Jabcob Rinck 435
Pascale Dollfus and Gisele Krauskpoff. 2014. Mascarades en Himalaya. Les vertus du rire - by Marie Lecomte - Tilouine 439
Mohan Mainali . 2071 v.s. Mantha Darayeko Jug - by Aditi Adhikari 442

 

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Studies in Nepali History and Society (Vol. 21 No. 2 December 2016)

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NAM871
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2016
Language:
English
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228
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Introduction

Women’s empowerment has become a popular term used by diverse and often contradictorily positioned ideologies and actors. Evolved from grassroots social movements in the 1970s; to its adoption by feminists concerned with development in the 1980a; to being firmly embedded in mainstream development “ industry” as a Poverty alleviation approach in the 1990s; the discourse of women ‘s empowerment has witnessed several dramatic and paradoxical shifts in terms of is language and scope over the past two decades.

The concept of women’s empowerment appears to be an outcome of several debates generated particularly by the third the third world feminist movement which , with primary influence from freire‘s popular education movement, evolved a distinct approach to grassroots empowerment that mainly focused on deepening critical consciousness and mobilizing collective action to challenge generated power elations (Batliwala 1994; Freire 1996). In the 1980s , (Women ‘s) empowerment entered development discourse when gender and development approach rooted in Third world women’s experiences and problems (Batliwala 1994; Parpart, Rai and Satudt 2002). Much of the GAD analysis of empowerment focused on unpacking different dimension of power: power over, power to, power with, and power within . In the mid - 199s, empowerment got in corporate in mainstream development thinking and practice with the popularization of the discourse through GAD platforms on ne hand and rise of neoliberalism on the other with the adoption of empowerment by mainstream development world,, its meaning and practice began to shift form collective and structural changes to expert - induced technical interventions focused on individual entrepreneurial growth, largely driven by neoliberal ideas of economics development (Leve : Sharma 2008).

While there have been several critiques of the appropriation of women’s empowerment by mainstream development practice (Batiwala 2007; critical of the feminist empowerment discourse. Marchand and Parpart (1995) , in particular, argue that while the discourses shifted the attention to homogenous lived experiences and problems assumption of their homogenous lived experiences and problems essentialized third world women while overshadowing very real differences between them. This paper is set within the premise of this post - structuralist feminist critique and aims to explore intersectional axes and identities that shape women ‘s lives and experiences and complicate the notion of empowerment.

The Paper builds its foundation in ethnographic and theoretical works that have questioned the simplistic understanding and practices of women’s lives and experiences and complicate notion empowerment. empowerment , especially in the context of Nepal . Tamang (200) argues that the development initiatives of state and non-state actors in Nepal in the name of women ‘s lived experiences . In a country like Nepal , various forms of gender norms an patriarchal arrangement exist in different communities that create different realities for women . therefore, efforts at developing Nepali women “need to g beyond one size fits all” policies and program and work towards developing an understanding and knowledge With and of women who have definite ideas about their own wants and needs based on their experience of oppression and struggle (Tamang 2002: 161).

Rankin (2001), in the context of her ethnographic work on micro-finance unifying solidarity amongst women, and she shows how such programs of unifying solidarity amongst women., and she shows how such programs overlook interactions among multiple social locations an hierarchies such as caste , class , ethnicity , and age . she opines that the programs aim to generate the subjectivity of the “rational economic woman “ who is easily capital in income - generating enterprises that will contribute to the economics security and social well- being of their household . Instead , the programs’ faulty assumptions and oversight result in their unacknowledged role in reinforcing existing gender , caste , and class hierarchies.

Leve (2007), in her seminal paper based on an evaluation of USAID’s empowerment program in the 1990s , argued that – although poles apart in their ideologies – both feminists that although poles apart in their ideologies- both feminists and development discourse s of empowerment share a common assumption in that they view empowerment share a common assumption in that they view empowerment as an evolutionary process and transformation is subjectivity that will lead to concrete positive actions. While feminist discourses and project seek to create political citizen for just and equitable change through resistance and mobilization, development projects attempt to produce self- regulating entrepreneurial individuals who know how to function properly in a free-market society . Leve concludes that, contrary to the assumption of empowerment programs , women ‘s subjectivity is not defined in terms of autonomy but shaped through social relations and obligation.

This Homogenization of the category “women” and the assumption of linear changes by mainstream feminist and development discourse and practices of empowerment overlook complex realities of Nepali Women who are differently situated by intersections of gender and social relations and whose agency is shaped by such structural and discursive contexts. This Paper examines how women’s intersectional gender identities and multiple manifestations of agency shape their experiences and perceptions of empowerment in the context of their participation in a poverty reduction empowerment project.

Contents

Articles  
Rethinking Empowerment : Gender Identities, Agency, and Women's Empowerment Discourse and Practice in Nepal - Anjam singh 227
Wandering of a spirit: Making sense of an Untimely Death in the sinja valley of Jumla - Samuuele Pletti 251
Ethnic Politics and Religion among Janajatis is an Eastern Tarai town - Chudamani Banset 283
Like Mother , Like Child?: Understanding Transition in diet, Health, and Nutrition in Humla , Nepal - Michelle U. Grocke and Kimber Haddix Mckay 305
Manadeva Samvat : Old Problem , New Evidence - Gautama. Vajracharya 333
Notes from the Archive  
Documents Related to the early Hospitals in Nepal - Yogesh raj , Deepak Aryal and sahrmik Mishra 347
Book Review  
Kul Cahndra Gautam. 2015. Lost in transition: Rebuilding Nepal from the Maoist Mayhem and Mega Earthquake - by Avash Bhandari 401
Punam Yadav . 2016. social transformation in Post - Conflict Nepal : A Gender Perspective - by Sachin Ghimire 405
Sharada Prasad Wasti , Padam simkhada and Edwin van Teijlingen, eds. 215. the Dynamics of Health in Nepal - by sachin Ghimie 409
Alaka Atreya chudal. 2016 A Freethinking cultural Nationalist : A Life History of Rahul sanskrityayan - by Ajapa Sharma 415
Nihar R . Nayak . 2014. strategic Himalayas: Republicam Nepal and external Powers - by sherya Paudel 420
Kailash Rai , ed. 2073 v.s. Pahicanko khoji : Adivasi Janajati Mahilaka Samajik , samskritik, Rajnitik sandarva (2016-2073) - by Subah Ghale 426
Janak Raj Sapkota . 2016. Kahar : Vaidesik Rojgarlie Bitolido Samaj - by Mahesh Raj Maharajan 430
Rihard burghart. 2016 The History of Janakpuradham: A study of Asceticism and the Hndu Polity - by Jabcob Rinck 435
Pascale Dollfus and Gisele Krauskpoff. 2014. Mascarades en Himalaya. Les vertus du rire - by Marie Lecomte - Tilouine 439
Mohan Mainali . 2071 v.s. Mantha Darayeko Jug - by Aditi Adhikari 442

 

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