SOAS Research Online

A Free Database of the Latest Research by SOAS Academics and PhD Students

[skip to content]

Istratii, Romina (2018) 'Sensitising gender to local cosmology: A participatory ethnographic gender and development approach from a Muslim community in Senegal.' The Journal of Development Practice, 4. pp. 8-23.

Text - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 (CC-BY 4.0).

Download (620kB) | Preview


This article is concerned with the effectiveness of gender and development practice in diverse knowledge systems. Conventional theoretical and analytical frameworks and methodologies of gender and development reflect primarily secular epistemologies and it has yet to be addressed systematically how non-secular knowledge systems may be incorporated effectively in the design and implementation of gender programmes. This article presents a project from a Muslim rural community of Senegal that analysed gender realities through the prism of the local religio-cultural cosmology and explored community members‟ responses to increasingly internationalised western ideals of gender equality. As an innovative methodology, participatory research techniques were integrated into short-term ethnographic investigations in an attempt to explore gender realities through the conceptual repertoire of the research participants. The study showed that understandings of subjectivity and gender norms were intertwined intricately with religio-cultural beliefs which influenced how participants conceived themselves and local gender relations and how they responded to western ideals of gender equality. Gender itself seemed to be conceptualised at a more profound ontological level emanating from religio-cultural beliefs. The implication is that gendersensitive development in this community will need to account for this epistemological framework and to attune to religio-cultura sensibilities. The study also suggests that the participatory ethnographic methodology that was employed can facilitate a transition to an epistemology-sensitive gender and development practice; however it must be combined with reflexivity and be followed by more rigorous research.

Item Type: Journal Article
Keywords: Gender and Development, Gender Equality, Religious Cosmology, Non-secular Epistemologies, Participatory Ethnographic Research, Islam
SOAS Departments & Centres: Departments and Subunits > School of History, Religions & Philosophies > Department of Religions & Philosophies
ISSN: 23940476
Date Deposited: 04 Sep 2018 08:10
Related URLs: http://journals ... rticle/view/480 (Publisher URL)
Funders: Other

Altmetric Data

There is no Altmetric data currently associated with this item.


Download activity - last 12 monthsShow export options
Downloads since deposit
6 month trend
6 month trend
Accesses by country - last 12 monthsShow export options
Accesses by referrer - last 12 monthsShow export options

Repository staff only

Edit Item Edit Item