Apr 16, 2007

Ecofeminism, Global Justice, and “Culturally-Perceived Poverty”

Regina Cochrane
University of Calgary, Canada

excerpt from section four,

Neoliberalism and the Political Trajectory of Post-Development Populism

The post-development populist notion of “culturally-perceived poverty” is problematic for a whole host of general reasons as outlined above. However, the problems do not end there. The situation gets considerably more complicated when this thesis is examined in the context of the current historical conjuncture of neoliberalism and rising fundamentalist and right-wing nationalist currents, North and South. The notion of “culturally-perceived poverty,” together with its populist baggage, readily lends itself to complicity with contemporary globalized capitalism in a number of ways. Moreover, in actual political practice, Shiva and the main populist currents/mentors feeding into her thesis of “culturally-perceived poverty” have all ended up engaging in various forms of “right-left” flirts with forces such as Hindu fundamentalism, racist nationalism, and/or the European New Right.

read more


Anonymous said...

This is interesting stuff. It reminds me very much of arguments about another group of people who have the 'not really poor' label applied to them--generally for explicitly political reasons. The 'hunter-gatherers', by which people usually really mean the San peoples of the Kalahari. The "pre-modern poor" indeed. Of course the San peoples, like the people talked about in that article, also have their own their own political-economic relations among their neighbors, and their own history that did not in fact begin only when Western anthropologists showed up to declare them frozen-in-time "original affluents".

The romanticization of dispossession is an over-compensation to the previous barbarization of those who do not participate in the market economy. In fact, people are real people, complexly situated, not political symbols.


Francis said...

One interesting connnection not explored by Cochrane is the fact that the Midnight Notes Collective have published some stuff by Gustavo Esteva (they spell his name Esteve). I generally appreciate the stuff Midnight Notes puts out, and it surprised me to learn about the retrograde ideas advanced by one of their collaborators. It would be worth exploring the implications of this relationship.