A Feminist, Intersectional Analysis of Urban Agriculture in Quito, Ecuador

Ms Laine Young1, Dr Alison Blay-Palmer1

1Wilfrid Laurier University, Waterloo, Canada


This presentation explores the author’s dissertation research with urban growers in Quito, Ecuador. Quito’s urban agriculture (UA) project, AGRUPAR, is wildly successful in promoting urban food growth, equity, economic development and bettering the urban environment. Through their training programs, infrastructure development and the establishment of organic markets throughout the city, AGRUPAR has enabled Quito’s urban poor, mostly women (80% of participants), to find success in growing and raising food in the city. While the project has been extremely successful, the participants identified areas for potential growth: increased, self-sufficient funding; knowledge sharing; and increased participation. The author will be using a feminist political ecology (FPE) analysis with a focus on intersectionality to collaborate with the participants to ensure equity within the project and to expand the reach in a way that takes the lived experience of the participants into account. Based on Rebecca Elmhirst’s work on FPE, a modified conceptual framework will be used that emphasizes key FPE principles such as: emphasizing power and politics at different scales, challenging dominant ways of knowing, exploring connections between social location and subject formation and understanding complex relations between nature and society. This intersectional analysis will influence the way forward for UA in Quito.


Laine Young is a Phd Candidate (ABD) and Contract Academic Staff Member in the Geography and Environmental Studies department at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. Sheis affiliated with the Laurier Centre for Sustainable Food Systems. Laine integrates a feminist lens to her dissertation research in Quito, Ecuador to understand the inequity and unequal power relations present in experiences of urban agriculture. layoung@wlu.ca

Social Sustainability, Development and Gendered Entrepreneurial Practices in India: De-essentialized Intersectional Perspectives

Dr Debarati Sen1

1Kennesaw State University, Atlanta, USA


What is their relationship to gendered militarized labor, everyday entrepreneurialism and contemporary development practices? This  question gains salience in contemporary India where autonomy movements (with a development focused agenda) have entered a new and treacherous playing field, women’s work force participation in the formal sector is at an all-time low while discourses of women’s empowerment and  entrepreneurialism are awash in state, non-profit and local and transnational donor discourse on sustainable development.

In this context this paper argues that  a de-essentialized intersectional perspective will enable gender specialists (especially when working in marginal communities with protracted subnational movements) to re-center questions about power, everyday labor and related economic and social aspirations in thinking through development policy and practice. Such an approach to engaging sustainable development will facilitate centering social sustainability—the most ignored ideas in the field of sustainable development—in assessing the success of contemporary sustainability initiatives at multiple scales.  De-essentialized intersectionality as a framework  will not only facilitate keen attention to structural inequities in appraising contemporary gender and development ideas but also underscore the cohabitation of contradictory political agendas within contemporary regional autonomy movements in India.


Dr. Debarati Sen holds a dual appointment between School of Conflict Management, Peacebuilding and Development and the Anthropology program at KSU. Her research takes place at the confluence of cultural anthropology, development studies, gender studies and conflict studies. For fifteen years her research examined gendered mobilizations around sustainable development in rural India culminating in her ethnographic monograph: Everyday Sustainability: Gender Justice and Fair Trade Tea in Darjeeling (Albany: SUNY Press, 2017).  In 2018 her book won two major awards: the International Studies Association’s Global Development Section Book Award and Gloria E. Anzaldúa Book Prize from National Women’s Studies Association

Extending Intersectionality

Dr Maree Pardy1

1Deakin University, Geelong, Australia


Intersectionality is now axiomatic to feminist theory and increasingly to policy and practice. One of the most productive theoretical critiques of applied intersectionality is its tendency to become trapped within the logic of identity. Moreover, it is suggested that the axes of identity that motivate intersectional policiesrace, gender, sexuality, culture, disability, sexualityare mostly Western and colonial in origin. Deleuzian influenced scholars such as Jasbir Puar (2007, 2012) suggest that intersectionality could be extended by considering the “event-ness of identity” alongside the “event-ness of intersectionality”, enabling a closer consideration, of the emergence of the categories of intersectionality and how or whether they travel appropriately across geographical boundaries. It also enables the categories to be placed within historical and geopolitical context. To these ends I consider GAD intersectional interventions to the issues associated with female genital practices. In relation to FGM/C some women’s own understanding and articulation of their predicaments in relation to cutting, circumcision and excision often remain unintelligible to global development programs on the issue of FGM/C. Ultimately, my analysis leads to a claim that Development itself should be incorporated into intersectional GAD initiatives as one of the most critical axes of intersectional identities.


Maree Pardy a Lecturer in the School of Humanities and Social Sciences, Deakin University. She researches cultural difference within multicultural societies and in development and humanitarian contexts, and focuses a good deal on controversies concerning gender, sexuality and cultural difference. She teaches subjects on Gender and Development and Gender and Globalisation. She is currently focusing on local and global tensions around gender, sexuality and human rights; gender and religion in public space; and the turn to the law to manage controversial issues of cultural difference.

Intersectionality in gender and development practice: A useful tool or blunt-edged sword?

Prof. Kuntala Lahiri-Dutt1

1The Australian National University (ANU), Canberra, Australia


Contemporary Gender and Development (GAD) analytical frameworks have predominantly been based on a sex-based binary interpretation. Intersectionality, described as a ‘The greatest contribution [of feminist theorists] to social science as a whole’ (Belkhir, 2009:3), is becoming increasingly popular in GAD practice, and there is increasing mention of the term in the field of development. This development is clearly related to the failure of gender analytical frameworks and tools to go beyond sex-based binary to explore complex gendered identities. Such widespread invocation of the term raises the question: does intersectionality offer to GAD practitioners a reliable and replicable analytical tool that can be used in interpreting complex fieldwork data on gendered lives? Despite the popularity of intersectionality as a theoretical, methodological, and research paradigm, the increasing complexity in the scholarship of identity and difference is at odds with the use of the concept as a ‘handy tool’ that gender practitioners seek in their work on development. This presentation will discuss some of these initiatives, underline the potential pitfalls of diluting the theory, and the implications of such ‘practical’ translations of complex feminist theories in critical geographies of development.


Kuntala Lahiri-Dutt is a Professor at the Crawford School of Public Policy, Australian National University, where she teaches gender and development in the Masters in Applied Anthropology and Participatory Development and Environmental Management and Development programs. Kuntala has written extensively on women/gender and the environment in Asian countries, focusing on water, agriculture and extractive resources.

More information can be gleaned from her staffpage: https://crawford.anu.edu.au/people/academic/kuntala-lahiri-dutt

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