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Poor Man's Patriarchy: Gender Roles and Global Crises

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Abstract

This article argues that rapid recent global economic shocks have revealed a poor man's patriarchy – a washed-out version of ancient male privileges, but yoked to responsibilities poor men can rarely meet. At the same time, norms that helped keep women at home in unpaid care roles have weakened and paid work is an ambition for more and more. Drawing on original research into experiences of food price volatility in ten developing countries in 2012, this article argues that in this destabilising of old gender roles, there may be some emancipatory potential. Present conditions of poor man's patriarchy suggest some scope for cross-gender coalitions with progressive, redistributive political agendas.

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