Who is the ‘Other‘?: A Postmodern Feminist Critique of Women and Development Theory and Practice


  • Jane L. Parpart

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      Professor of History at Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada B3H 3J5. She is currently working on a book on Feminism, Postmodernism and Development, with Marianne Marchand, as well as a number of articles on women and the construction of class identity in the towns of the Zambian copper belt.


In the last decade poststructural and postmodern critiques have increasingly dominated the world of scholarship. The grand theories of the past have been called into question; universals have been overtaken by particularities and difference. Feminist scholars have reacted to postmodernism in a number of ways. Some reject it outright, while others call for a synthesis of feminist and postmodern approaches. Many scholars and activists concerned with Third World issues, especially poverty and development, have rejected both feminism and postmodernism, dismissing them as First World preoccupations, if not indulgences. This article seeks to explore the relevance of postmodern feminism for Third World problems and analysis, particularly its utility for theorists and practitioners concerned with issues of women and development.