Wor(l)ds and silences - Tracing feminism in the Swedish foreign aid

University essay from Göteborgs universitet/Institutionen för kulturvetenskaper

Abstract: This thesis sets out to discursively investigate how gender equality is represented and made in the new platform for the Swedish foreign aid that was adopted by the government in March 2014. It does so by tracing what feminist features are made visible as well as invisible in the approaches, targets and objectives of gender equality. The thesis combines the “What’s the problem represented to be”-approach to policy analysis with a postcolonial feminist perspective in general and the concept of catachresis in particular. Apart from studying the platform itself, the thesis also uses some of the responses to the platform from organization working in the field of gender and development. The reading of the organizations’ responses reveals the struggle for the interpretative power over what type of knowledge is produced and made prominent in the policy.The thesis finds that the components of gender equality that emerge are congruent to a neoliberal ideology in which gender equality is, essentially, represented as smart economics and as an efficient approach to reach other development goals. The feminist ideology that pushed gender issues into the development agenda in the first place, is distorted and depoliticized. The catachrestic use of the components of gender equality in the new platform for the Swedish foreign aid, thus, manifests a reproduction of the neoliberal ideology in the work for gender equality within the field of development.

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