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Year: 2010 Type: Article Language: English

In this article, Koggel reflects on the various influences on her thinking on gender and development, including a research project in Indonesia to explore the possible gaps between the World Bank’s understanding of empowerment and social science theory and NGO practice prior to mainstreaming the concept; capabilities theory and the difference between empowerment and agency; and the rhetoric of empowerment. She discusses the importance of contextual analyses and of the limitations of generalized policies or principles designed to promote ‘development’ or empower women. An important lesson for development ethicists is the need to pay attention to and analyse relations of power – including the overarching factor of economic globalization in the form of neo-liberal and capitalist assumptions and structures. Another important lesson is the one she learned from Sen's complex analysis of poverty: that ethical issues of development are as relevant to ‘developed’ countries as they are to poor ‘developing’ countries.

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