International Feminist Journal of Politics

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2010 Enloe Award Essay

Abstract

A ‘curious feminist’ analysis, according to Enloe, starts in the lives of women and values all women's lives regardless of their status, identity, location or access to power. In this article I use this perspective to highlight the intersections of international development and patriarchy in the lives of three women of different generations and class status as they are affected by dislocations resulting from the Lesotho Highlands Water Project (LHWP) in the remote highland communities in rural Lesotho. I employ an intersectionality framework to demonstrate how their shared and divergent experiences, presented only partially and in my narrative form, tell a tale of the intertwining consequences of this multi-billion dollar international development project in the lives of rural poor women. Women's lived experiences of the LHWP reveal the contradictions of international development, exposing the masculinist imperatives that focus on generating national revenues to the exclusion of other development options, while organizing practices that dislocate the rural poor from their lands and livelihoods and implementing policies that reinforce patriarchy locally and globally. This article demonstrates the importance of bringing feminist scholarship to bear on development practice and argues specifically for the utility of intersectionality, narrative and curious feminist analyses.

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