A CRITICAL VIEW OF GENDER AND TERRITORIAL DYNAMICS IN RURAL DEVELOPMENT: EXPERIENCES FROM A REGIONAL STUDY, DEPARTMENT OF CHALATENANGO EL SALVADOR.
Abstract: With this thesis I contribute with critical and applied research that challenges empirically and theoretically the naturalization of research categories regarding gender within the different frameworks of development studies. In this study, I investigate initiatives to incorporate gender considerations into a project I collaborated within Chalatenango, El Salvador. This project was conceived within a 'new' Rural Development framework postulated by a large research network coordinated by RIMISP, a Chilean NGO that does research in rural territorial dynamics in Latin America. I analyze gender from a historical, as well as ethnographic- perspective in order to build a re-conceptualization of gender analysis in a rural development research project. I critically reflect on the evolution of gender categories in order to identify the driving factors that historically have enhanced or inhibited the development of this analytical category. Considering and addressing the identified blind spots in some approaches to gender studies, I developed and implemented a proposal to apply gender analysis to the case study in El Salvador. For the case study, I included actors who are not included in regular categories of various development studies, and I also used concrete methodological tools to build up a solid gender conscious analysis. The results of the thesis showed that gender systems have considerable influence in the territory in El Salvador due to them being determined by and in turn affecting the economic, social and environmental dynamics. These dynamics are land use, access to credits, access to technology and knowledge amongst others. Another important finding was the identification of specific constraints on some of the sources of crucial information for understanding regional dynamics.
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