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Topics Archives: Rurality

Towards De(s)colonial Research in the Global Rural: A Feminist Feeling-Thinking Study with Rural Women in Colombia

This dissertation is a feminist de(s)colonial study with rural women in Colombia. It documents and validates the lives, labour and agency of rural women by re-signifying place as a site of resistance and negotiation within a neoliberal context. In using descolonialism as the epistemology for this thesis, I implemented a feminist participatory visual methodology, collecting data from two case studies in the towns of Toca and Minca. The data demonstrate that rural women are agents in place, resisting colonial practices. While campesina women experience social inequality, they enact resistance in places such as the home, vereda, and the city, and contest violence against their territories bodies-lands. As such, rural women in Colombia challenge their positioning by hegemonic feminisms and neoliberal projects as lacking agency and in need of saving. The research demonstrates the importance of feminist, feeling-thinking, place-based research to conceptualising the countryside as an embodied relational space constituted by multiplicities and histories. Overall, this thesis contributes to the growing literature emerging from the Global South that makes visible and supports the progressive politics and new paradigms that question the colonial bias of hegemonic feminisms and neoliberal projects.

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From the Farm to the Photo-Exhibition: Visualising Rural Women’s Labour in the Colombian Countryside

This research aims to visualise, analyse and reconceptualise rural women’s labour in Colombia where current neoliberal policies have affected small and medium peasant sectors. The study is embedded in a feminist epistemological position, and as such, will adopt a methodology that seeks to empower participants, shift power between researcher and participants and acknowledge difference. More specifically, this thesis will draw from Woods’ (2007) notion of the ‘global countryside’ (p.485). He defines the global countryside as a hybrid space understood as emerging from the multi-scalar (global, national, local) discourses, processes and practices, and incorporating both human and non-human actors. He draws on Massey’s (2005) notions of place and space as relational to understand rurality within globalisation. In consequence, this research aims to:

1. Document and validate the labour of Colombian peasant women detailing changes that have occurred in their work as a result of globalisation;
2. Explore Colombian rural women’s negotiations and resistances around the identity of ‘peasant’ in the context of globalisation;
3. Examine the ways in which government and non-government organisations in Colombia have positioned peasant women in gender equality policies and programs and identify the implications of this positioning in the context globalisation.

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