Andrea Cornwall

Andrea Cornwall
SOAS, University of London | SOAS · Department of Anthropology and Sociology

About

118
Publications
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10,997
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Additional affiliations
March 2010 - present
University of Sussex
Position
  • Head of School

Publications

Publications (118)
Article
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The world over, public institutions appear to be responding to the calls voiced by activists, development practitioners and progressive thinkers for greater public involvement in making the decisions that matter and holding governments to account for following through on their commitments. Yet what exactly ‘participation’ means to these different a...
Article
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In the fast-moving world of development policy, buzzwords play an important part in framing solutions. Today's development orthodoxies are captured in a seductive mix of such words, among which 'participation', 'empowerment' and 'poverty reduction' take a prominent place. This paper takes a critical look at how these three terms have come to be use...
Article
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With radical roots in the 1980s, women's empowerment is now a mainstream development concern. Much of the narrative focuses on instrumental gains—what women can do for development rather than what development can do for women. Empowerment is treated as a destination reached through development's equivalent of motorways: programmes rolled out over a...
Article
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Emma Watson’s speech at the United Nations in September 2014 captured a rising wave of recognition that gender inequality can no longer be regarded as a women’s issue. Watson’s call for men’s engagement in ending gender inequality echoed core tenets of the gender agenda in development: gender is about the socially constituted relations between wome...
Article
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The language of ‘gender equality’ and ‘women’s empowerment’ was mobilised by feminists in the 1980s and 1990s as a way of getting women’s rights onto the international development agenda. Their efforts can be declared a resounding success. The international development industry has fully embraced these terms. From international NGOs to donor govern...
Article
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Even more than the discipine that was so famously labelled the 'handmaiden of colonialism' (Asad, 1973), Development Studies has been associated in critique with the perpetuation of colonial and neocolonial thinking and practice. What would it take to decolonise the teaching of Development Studies? Is it even possible? This article takes an experie...
Article
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Resumo Um aparente paradoxo persegue o aumento do empoderamento de mulheres e meninas. O argumento instrumental para “investir nas mulheres” foi colocado de forma persuasiva e brilhante. No entanto, o “caso do empreendedorismo” é sustentado principalmente por pesquisas feministas estruturadas por preocupações materialistas com desigualdade persiste...
Research
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Draft chapter for a book on communications for development
Chapter
A Chinese lesbian activist shows photos from her three way fake ‘wedding’, held in a Beijing restaurant to open up discussion on restrictive social and sexual norms; a Nicaraguan consultant tells the tale of how he was told the sexual and reproductive strategy he’d been commissioned to write contained ‘too much sex’; two Indian sex worker rights ac...
Chapter
Six years ago we published the piece on sexuality and the development industry reproduced here, coming out of a workshop in 2008. We argued that the development industry makes sexuality invisible, and subjects it to implicit assumptions, even in such areas that obviously intersect with sexuality, such as population, gender and HIV and AIDS. We desc...
Article
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Development organisations have learnt to talk the talk on ‘gender’. But in many if not most organisations male privilege and patriarchal attitudes and behaviour persist. This article explores techniques that can be used to make visible some of the dynamics of gendered power in organisations, as part of strategies for changing the scene in the every...
Article
The Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action (BPfA) is 20 years old. This introduction revisits the promises of the Beijing conference and reflects on how these have materialised amidst broader changes in the political economy of development. Most significant is the shift in the role of the state, with the entry of new development actors into th...
Article
With roots in approaches to popular education and participatory action research that place the learner and the ‘beneficiary’ of development at the centre of enquiry and action, the participatory visualisation methods associated with Participatory Rural Appraisal have been widely used as tools for learning and accountability. In this article, I refl...
Article
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Resumo O Sistema Único de Saúde (SUS) é um sistema universal, de financiamento público, baseado em direitos sociais à saúde, concebido e implantado em uma era em que as reformas neoliberais em outras partes do mundo têm impulsionado a mercantilização dos serviços de saúde, oferece lições importantes para os futuros sistemas de saúde. Neste artigo,...
Article
Brazilian democratic innovation is gathering considerable international attention, spawning a growing interest in replicating the institutional designs of its participatory governance institutions in countries with very different political histories and cultures of governance. Drawing on ethnographic research in the north and north-east of the coun...
Book
Gender and development has tended to engage with sexuality only in relation to violence and ill-health. Although this has been hugely important in challenging violence against women, over-emphasizing these negative aspects has dovetailed with conservative ideologies that associate women’s sexualities with danger and fear. On the other hand, the med...
Article
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The World Bank's Consultations with the Poor made development history. One of the most widely discussed piece of development research ever, the Consultations made much of claims to be participatory and to represent the "voices" of more than 20,000 "poor people" in 23 countries. It findings were used to garland speeches and affirm the overwhelming a...
Article
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Over the course of the 1990s, donor enthusiasm for participation came to be institutionalized in a variety of ways. One particular methodology—Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA)—came to enjoy phenomenal popularity. New aid modalities may have shifted donor and lender concern away from the grassroots towards “policy dialogue.” But “civil society pa...
Article
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Drawing on case studies from the Citizenship Development Research Centre, this paper contends that mechanisms aimed at enhancing citizen engagement need to be contextualised in the states of citizenship in which they are applied. It calls for more attention to be focused on understanding trajectories of citizenship experience and practice in partic...
Technical Report
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What does sexuality have to do with women’s empowerment? Research from the Pathways of Women’s Empowerment RPC shows that sexuality affects women’s political and economic empowerment in a number of important ways. For example, in the ways that women experience seeking election to political office, how women are treated and respected (or disrespecte...
Article
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Andrea Cornwall and Nana Akua Anyidoho critically examine empowerment in an introduction to how to go beyond mainstream interpretations of empowerment to discover what is happening in women's lives that is bringing about positive change.
Article
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This introductory article draws out some of the dimensions and dilemmas around women's empowerment that are highlighted in the articles in this IDS Bulletin: the choices, the negotiations, the narratives and above all, the context of women's lived experience. In doing so, we show that empowerment is a complex process that requires more than the qui...
Chapter
Words make worlds. The language of development defines worlds-in-themaking, animating and justifying intervention in currently existing worlds with fulsome promises of the possible. Wolfgang Sachs contends, ‘development is much more than just a socio-economic endeavour; it is a perception which models reality, a myth which comforts societies, and a...
Article
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The abstract for this document is available on CSA Illumina.To view the Abstract, click the Abstract button above the document title.
Article
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This issue of the IDS Bulletin draws together a range of perspectives from people who have been active in recent debates on men and masculinities in gender and development (GAD). Many of the contributors have been participants in the ongoing ESRC Seminar Series Men Masculinities and Gender Relations in Development. Arising principally from presenta...
Article
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Summaries This article explores the implications of missing men for Gender and Development. Men, in all their diversity, are largely missing from representations of ‘gender issues’ and ‘gender relations’ in GAD. Mainstream development purveys its own set of stereotypical images of men, serving equally to miss the variety of men who occupy other, mo...
Chapter
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IntroductionSolidarity and Autonomy: Ideals in Practice?Of Ideals and MisrecognitionFemale Solidarity in Ado-OdoFemale Autonomy in Ado-OdoPutting ‘Gender Relations’ in PerspectiveRe-Reading ‘Gender Relations’ in AdoMyths to Live by?References
Article
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The abstract for this document is available on CSA Illumina.To view the Abstract, click the Abstract button above the document title.
Article
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Critical evaluation of the current status of 'gender' in development points to the conclusion that its political and analytical bite has been blunted by its domestication by development agencies. Transplanted from domains of feminist discourse and practice onto other, altogether different and in many ways inherently hostile institutional terrains,...
Article
This article seeks to explore some of the trends that have led to the emergence of today's interest in human rights. The grounding of rights-based approaches in human rights legislation, some would argue, makes them distinctively different to others, lending the promise of re-politicising areas of development work, particularly, perhaps, efforts to...
Article
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This article takes, as a starting point, shifts in development discourse over the last few decades of the twentieth century, that have led to the emergence of new spaces for public involvement. Different constructions of participation have implications for who participates and on what basis, and on what their participation actually involves in prac...
Article
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Participatory research has long held within it implicit notions of the relationships between power and knowledge. Advocates of participatory action research have focused their critique of conventional research strategies on structural relationships of power and the ways through which they are maintained by monopolies of knowledge, arguing that part...
Article
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This IDS Bulletin addresses a theme that mainstream development has persistently neglected: sexuality. Sex and sexuality have profound implications for development, and are intimately connected with every dimension of poverty. And nothing is more basic than our rights over our own bodies. Yet the sidelining of sexuality in development, its treatmen...
Article
This introductory article argues that the interlinked Issues of legal reform, the provision of accessible and affordable services and the strengthening of women's capacities to exercise agency over their own bodies make safe abortion a development issue. Within this understanding, it reviews these intersections through the multiple framings used in...
Article
Development buzzwords shelter diverse and often divergent strands of meaning and practice, lending an air of credibility and currency to the policies of the agencies that espouse them. Tracing the trajectory of one of these buzzwords, ‘participation’, in Swedish development cooperation, this paper seeks to unpack some of those diverse meanings and...
Article
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Brazil's health councils appear to offer inspiring examples of what Fung and Wright (2003) term “empowered participatory governance.” But what happens in practice? This article narrates an episode in the life of a municipal health council in northeast Brazil, in which democracy itself came under deliberation. It seeks to locate normative assumption...
Article
Neoliberalism - that 'grab-bag of ideas based on the fundamentalist notion that markets are self-correcting, allocate resources efficiently and serve the public interest well' as Stiglitz (2008) puts it has been a focal point for contestation in development. Feminists have highlighted its deleterious effects on women's lives and on gender relations...
Article
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This paper argues for an approach to researching citizenship and democracy that begins not from normative convictions but from everyday experiences in particular social, cultural and historical contexts. The paper starts with a consideration of the ways in which the terms 'democracy' and 'citizenship' have been used in the discourses and approaches...
Article
Brazil's Sistema Unico de Saúde (SUS), a universal, publicly-funded, rights-based health system, designed and put in place in an era where neo-liberal reforms elsewhere in the world have driven the marketization of health services, offers important lessons for future health systems. In this article, we focus on the innovative institutional mechanis...
Article
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Reproductive outcomes may be less a result of consciously pursued "reproductive strategies" than of other choices, and are subject to the influence not only of other individuals, but also of caprice and circumstance. Drawing on ethnographic research in southwestern Nigeria, I argue that to understand the outcomes of reproduction in terms of reprodu...
Article
Women's economic empowerment has come to play an increasingly prominent role in the policies of mainstream development agencies. This article draws on fieldwork amongst small-scale traders in southwestern Nigeria to suggest that the capacity of traders to exercise ‘choice’ is more complex than development narratives suggest. Deploying de Certeau's...
Article
Female autonomy and female solidarity occupy a special place in gender and development thinking. For some feminists, myself included, they represent closely held ideals; as such, they are very difficult to bring into question. This contribution reflects on these ideals in order to raise critical questions about the attachments that gender and devel...
Article
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The challenge of building democratic polities where all can realize their rights and claim their citizenship is one of the greatest of our age. Reforms in governance have generated a profusion of new spaces for citizen engagement. In some settings, older institutions with legacies in colonial rule have been remodelled to suit contemporary governanc...
Chapter
Brazil’s ‘Citizens’ Constitution’ of 1988 established health as ‘the right of all and the duty of the state’. It also guaranteed the right of citizens to participate in the governance of the Sistema Único de Saúde (National Health System; SUS for short) through institutions created at municipal, state and national level. Nowhere else in the world h...
Article
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Gender and development has grown enormously as a field over the last thirty years. In this introduction, we interrogate the ambivalence that underpins feminist engagement with development and examine what current dilemmas may suggest about the relationship between feminist knowledge and development practice. In recent years, there has been growing...
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Since the late 1990s, development institutions have increasingly used the language of rights in their policy and practice. This special issue on feminist perspectives on the politics of rights explores the strategies, tensions and challenges associated with rights advocacy’ in a variety of settings. Articles on the Middle East, Africa, Latin Americ...
Article
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Development agencies have conventionally viewed sexuality as a health issue. Sex has been regarded as a source of danger, harm and disease. The words â–˜loveâ–™, â–˜desireâ–™ and â–˜pleasureâ–™ are absent from the development lexicon. This article draws on discussions at a workshop at the Institute of Development Studies, Sussex, in September 2005,...
Article
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Participation in development came to be popularised in the 1990s as a novel, common-sense way to address a range of development ills. Its institutionalisation over the course of that decade in the discourses, if not the practices, of many mainstream development organisations promised a new approach that would give ‘the poor’ more voice and choice i...
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Increasing numbers of women have gained entry into the arena of representative politics in recent times. Yet the extent to which shifts in the sex ratio within formal democratic spaces translates into political influence, and into gains in policies that redress gendered inequities and inequalities remains uncertain. At the same time, a plethora of...
Article
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This paper seeks to unravel some of the tangled threads of contemporary rights talk. For some, the grounding of rights‐based approaches in human rights legislation makes them distinctively different to others, lending the promise of re‐politicising areas of development work—particularly, perhaps, efforts to enhance participation in development, tha...
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Special issue. Incl. bibl.
Article
Efforts to promote participation in projects, programs and policy consultation would appear to offer the prospect of giving everyone who has a stake a voice and a choice. But community-driven development, participatory planning and other fine-sounding initiatives that make claims of “full participation” and “empowerment” can turn out to be driven b...
Article
Bridging the gap between professionals and communities and establishing new forms of partnership is essential if service provision is to be made more responsive and accountable. This article describes an innovative approach to creating the basis for partnerships to address community wellbeing on an estate in south London. Drawing on participatory a...
Article
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Women's (mis)behavior in intimate relationships is a constant topic of commentary among women and men in Ado-Odo, southwestern Nigeria. Today's women are said to be wayward and troublesome, defying their husbands in pursuit of other men's love and money. Yet, many women maintain marriages in which there is no love and no money. And for those who do...

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Project (1)
Project
A group of researchers and critical development people working on how power works in making, sustaining, resisting and protesting inequality and poverty. Our most recent product is an edited volume: Power, Empowerment and Social Change, Routledge 2019.