A tool for thought and transformation: Gender-considerate global change research in practice
This contribution illustrates aspects of gender and development research in the Swiss National Centre of Competence in Research (NCCR) North-South programme, asking whether the often diagnosed 'gender ennui' has also affected this research network. Based on an overview of gender-considerate research in the programme, the article suggests how the innovative analytical potential of gender concepts in development research can best be explored. The authors follow a classic constructivist definition
... of gender, adopting it as a powerful corrective to naturalised explanations about social realities. They argue that the claim for gender equality, however, has to be grounded in a detailed understanding of a given society's social organisation so as to reflect on the cultural framing of gender and on its intersection with other, equally fragile categories such as class, age, or ethnicity. While many of the NCCR North-South contributions examined for this article employ gender as an analytical framework to elicit gender-specific data, only a few explore the potential of using gender as a tool for interrogating basic concepts, let alone joining in a normative or epistemological debate. This is partly due to an unpopular obligation, partly for career considerations. The authors argue that using a gender perspective can help to reinterpret social change -which is at the core of development -in particularly gainful ways. Often reduced to the term "modernisation", such transformations can be reflected on through gender-considerate scrutiny, providing the development community with a fine-tuned picture of how change is socially negotiated. The overall goal is to make sure that gender approaches support meaningful analyses that integrate complexity while not losing sight of implementation.