Open Access Journal

ISSN: 2183-2803

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The Traps of International Scripts: Making a Case for a Critical Anthropology of Gender and Sexuality in Development

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Abstract:  In this article, we look at colonialities of gender and sexuality as concepts employed in international aid and development. These international arenas reveal not only strong reiterations of modernist linear thinking and colonial continuities but also provide insights into the complexities of the implementation and vernacularisation of gender and sexuality in practices of development. Using a critical anthropological perspective, we discuss case studies based on our own research in Egypt and Bangladesh to illustrate the importance of unpacking exclusionary mechanisms of gender and sexuality scripts in the promotion of women’s rights and sexual and reproductive health and rights in postcolonial development contexts. We provide a conceptual analysis of decolonial feminist attempts at moving beyond the mere critique of development to enable a more inclusive conversation in the field of development. To work towards this goal, we argue, a critical anthropological approach proves promising in allowing a politically-sensitive, ethical, and critical engagement with the Other.

Keywords:  colonial; critical anthropology; development; gender; international aid; sexuality



© Rahil Roodsaz, An Van Raemdonck. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (, which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.