Recasting Culture to Undo Gender: A Sociological Analysis of the Jeevika Project in Bihar
Conference Room, Centre for Policy Research
This paper brings together sociological theories of culture and gender to answer the question – how do large-scale development interventions induce cultural change? Through three years of detailed ethnographic work in rural Bihar, the authors examine this question in the context of Jeevika, a World Bank-assisted poverty alleviation project targeted at women. They find that the project substantially increased women's autonomy and agency via a concerted effort to provide material and symbolic resources for disadvantaged women, and creating new women-centred institutional structures. The expanded phase of the project was, however, not as effective and the talk will highlight the reasons why.
Dr Vijayendra Rao is a Lead Economist in the Development Economics Research Group of the World Bank who combines his training in economics with sociology and political science to study the social, cultural and political context of poverty. His research has spanned a variety of subjects, but most recently has focused on participatory development, deliberative democracy and decentralization. He heads the Social Observatory, an effort to create a social science of implementation by focusing on improving the adaptive capacity of large-scale anti-poverty projects.
Link to paper – http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2661137
Website – http://www.vijayendrarao.org
Social Observatory – http://econ.worldbank.org/socialobservatory