‘Race’, Gender and Neoliberalism: Changing Visual Representations in Development

Citation:

Wilson, Kalpana. 2011. “‘Race’, Gender and Neoliberalism: Changing Visual Representations in Development.” Third World Quarterly 32 (2): 315–31.

Author: Kalpana Wilson

Abstract:

This article examines the increasing use of 'positive', active images of 'poor women in developing countries' by development institutions, in relation to several interlinked factors: critiques of earlier representations of 'Third World women' as an essentialised category of 'passive victims'; the appropriation and transformationwithin neoliberal discourses of development from the 1990s onwards of concepts of agency and empowerment; and changes in the role of development NGOs in the same period. Through a discussion of recent publicity campaigns by Oxfam Unwrapped, the Nike Foundation and Divine chocolate, the article examines the specific and gendered ways in which these more recent visual productions are racialised, exploring, in particular, parallels and continuities between colonial representations of women workers and today's images of micro-entrepreneurship within the framework of neoliberal globalisation. The article concludes that, like their colonial predecessors, contemporary representations obscure relations of oppression and exploitation, and work to render collective challenges to the neoliberal model invisible.

Topics: Development, Gender, Livelihoods, NGOs, Political Economies, Race

Year: 2011

© 2017 CONSORTIUM ON GENDER, SECURITY & HUMAN RIGHTSLEGAL STATEMENT All photographs used on this site, and any materials posted on it, are the property of their respective owners, and are used by permission. Photographs: The images used on the site may not be downloaded, used, or reproduced in any way without the permission of the owner of the image. Materials: Visitors to the site are welcome to peruse the materials posted for their own research or for educational purposes. These materials, whether the property of the Consortium or of another, may only be reproduced with the permission of the owner of the material. This website contains copyrighted materials. The Consortium believes that any use of copyrighted material on this site is both permissive and in accordance with the Fair Use doctrine of 17 U.S.C. § 107. If, however, you believe that your intellectual property rights have been violated, please contact the Consortium at info@genderandsecurity.org.