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Deconstructing Postmodernism and the Mainstream Developmental Discourse of Women's Empowerment in the (South) Asian Context

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  • Haider A Khan

    (Department of Economics, University of Denver)

Abstract

This paper starts with an initial gesture accepting the validity of many of the criticisms of modernity by some leading postmodern thinkers. From this initial position, it then evaluates the postmodernist positions themselves with regards to democracy, women's empowerment and justice by paying careful attention to the arguments of these leading postmodernists. It then develops a theory of deep democracy and radical subjectivity which can be used to deconstruct the rhetoric of international organizations on women's empowerment. However, shallow and self-serving as this rhetoric is, it nevertheless can lead to a limited improvement in women's status contrary to the claims of the conservatives. Furthermore, the theory can also be used to de/reconstruct the liberal and social democratic positions on women's empowerment. Such a deep democratic perspective in South Asia focuses attention on enhancing social capabilities through all means, but most importantly through the political self-activities of the multitude---- particularly the radical subjectivities and actions of the most oppressed women who can and will increasingly take leading roles in overcoming the rule of global capital.

Suggested Citation

  • Haider A Khan, 2005. "Deconstructing Postmodernism and the Mainstream Developmental Discourse of Women's Empowerment in the (South) Asian Context," CIRJE F-Series CIRJE-F-386, CIRJE, Faculty of Economics, University of Tokyo.
  • Handle: RePEc:tky:fseres:2005cf386
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    File URL: http://www.cirje.e.u-tokyo.ac.jp/research/dp/2005/2005cf386.pdf
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