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Love, Dreams and Revolution

Vasanth Kannabiran

Edited by Kum-Kum Bhavnani, John Foran and Priya Kurian
Zubaan, an imprint of Kali for Women, New Delhi, 2006, pp. 309, Rs. 495.00


Debates resonating in the last century on the dire impact of maldevelopment on the poor and on women in the Third World have spilled over into this century with consequences that cannot be measured by the word tragic. Economic growth conventionally measured in terms of GNP, trade industrialization etc. mirrored by growing inequality, lack of housing, education, health care, inflation and unemployment fuels grievance and despair along class, ethnic and gender lines. The terrorist attacks, tragic in their consequences, and the war on terror monstrous in conception and execution, keeps us spinning on an endless cycle of violence. As violence draws public concern and outrage women in the Third World continue to suffer multiple challenges that include poverty, hunger, landlessness, discrimination, abuse and violence that is both economic and sexual. Challenges that seldom make news or draw attention unless someone discovers that a woman dies giving birth every seven minutes. What are the specifities of history, political economy and culture that make these realities differentially oppressive for Third World women? How do they meet these challenges and confront them in creative and effective ways? What are the deeply fulfilling experiences, emotions and enduring relationships that are born through the struggles they wage to survive their reality?   Feminist Futures: Reimagining Women, Culture and Development edited by Bhavnani, Foran and Kurian is a collection of essays that attempts to assess the situation of women across different sites of the Third World and suggest new ways of looking at the way women resist and celebrate the circumstances of their lives. It is an attempt to present a new paradigm for development studies, one that puts woman at the centre, culture on a par with political economy, and keeps a focus on critical practices, pedagogies and movements for social justice. Working at the intersection of cultural studies, feminist studies and critical development studies the contributors argue for a shift in development theory that will attend to the participation of women in the public and private domains simultaneously. The three critical aspects in this collection—Sexuality and the Gendered Body; Environment, Technology Science; and the Cultural Politics of Representation are interwoven with a series of visions that project a richly textured dream for the future. Feminist Futures is a collection of the writings of twenty seven contributors that provides us with the tools to radically rethink technocratic assumptions about development while bringing culture into the ...

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