Gender, Power and Knowledge for Development
Knowledge-for-development is thriving as an area of development practice. Yet the consequences of the proliferation of knowledge-based development practices as an area of development discourse and practice remain under-theorised and researched.
This book interrogates the capacity of donor-funded women’s NGOs and networks to promote more positive development outcomes through the production and dissemination of information. It argues that notions of progressive knowledge practice are confronted by three main constraints. Firstly, barriers embedded in information and its delivery persists despite mechanisms designed to improve accessibility. Secondly, the production and dissemination of increased volumes of information has become an end in itself. Finally, actors based in the ‘South’ remain unproblematised in knowledge-based development discourse and practice, thereby perpetuating elite practices and obscuring class and educational divides that reinforce inequalities within and between Northern and Southern contexts.
Using a qualitative, multi-site ethnography, the book advocates a move away from a belief that information intermediaries can apply progressive correctives to ‘tinker at the edges’ and thus resolve the shortcomings of mainstream, World Bank-inspired knowledge paradigms that persist in the commodification of information. The book queries the essential utility of the knowledge paradigm itself and its key underpinning presumptive mechanism, namely that a knowledge deficit exists in the Global South that may be addressed by practices that essentially focus on improving the supply-side of knowledge without accounting for the nature or the specific needs of the knowledge systems being targeted for support.
This volume will be of great interest to researchers, students in development studies, gender studies, and communication studies as well as NGOs, donor agencies and groups engaged in information for development (i4D), ICT for development (ICT4D), knowledge mobilization and knowledge-for-development (K4D).