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Title:Beyond Red and School: Gender, Tradition and Identity in the Rural Eastern Cape
Author:Bank, Leslie J.ISNI
Periodical:Journal of Southern African Studies
Geographic term:South Africa
rural sociology
gender relations
social networks
rural development
Agriculture, Natural Resources and the Environment
Development and Technology
Economics and Trade
Women's Issues
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
Cultural Roles
Sex Roles
External link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/823435
Abstract:Rural development policies in South Africa changed in the 1990s. The new framework combined poverty alleviation strategies with an attempt to shift rural communities away from subsistence-oriented agriculture to more market-oriented development options. While many of those who are currently assessing the impact of these policies in rural areas have focused on the extent to which they have contributed towards the creation of 'sustainable livelihoods', relatively little attention has been given to their impact on rural social relations and identity politics. This paper seeks to fill this gap by focusing on transformations in gender relations and identity politics in one rural location in the Eastern Cape: Mooiplaas. It argues that, although the new initiatives have been unevenly implemented and have not significantly reduced poverty in this area, they have nevertheless activated new discourses around identity and development. The paper traces these changing discourses by comparing and contrasting the polarized identity politics associated with the introduction of agricultural betterment in the 1950s and the increasingly hybrid identities and strategies constructed by rural women, in particular, in response to the new development opportunities. The paper concludes by investigating the implications of these responses for gender and power relations in the village. Notes, ref., sum. (Journal abstract)