"Embedding Neoliberalism: Crisis, Sexuality and Social Reproduction"
Thursday, February 12, 2009
Smith Seminar Room,
Physics Research Building
191 W. Woodruff Ave., Columbus, OH 43201
Co-sponsored by OSU Women in Development, Department of Women's Studies, and Center for Latin American Studies.
Kate Bedford is Research Fellow at the University of Kent Law School in the United Kingdom.
Her research focuses on the interactions between sexuality studies, international development, and gender policy. She has just completed a book manuscript that explores the World Bank's new post-Washington Consensus approach to gender and development, one grounded in male inclusion, strengthening families, and reforming gender norms to encourage loving balance within monogamous partnerships.
Bedford has conducted research in Ecuador and Argentina on export promotion, ethno-development, and social capital promotion lending. She is also working on articles regarding gender regimes and institutional strengthening, and the gendered and sexualized impacts of crisis on development policy.
Other research interests include feminist pedagogy, sexuality and social policy, U.S. lesbian feminism, gender and employment, and social reproduction.
This talk seeks to intervene in a vibrant and publicly prominent debate within development studies about the role of crisis in "postneoliberal" or post-Washington Consensus policy making. Gender and, especially, sexuality are largely absent from that debate.
I ask: What do contemporary experiences of crisis reveal about the complex interconnections between rupture and shock on one hand, and gender and sexuality on the other? In concrete crisis conditions, which common sense groundworks of the present get unsettled, which get re-entrenched, and what is the role of the development industry in this process?
Specifically, I ask how possibilities for alternative regimes of gender and sexuality are affected by economic crisis, using a case study of the World Bank's response to the 2001-02 Argentine crisis. Using interviews with NGOs and World Bank policy makers, and fieldwork on a family-strengthening loan called PROFAM, I argue that the denaturalization of free markets was articulated, in part, through the re-naturalization of monogamous heterosexual couplehood.
University of Kent Law School