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    In the name of reproductive rights: race, neoliberalism and the embodied violence of population policies

    Wilson, Kalpana (2017) In the name of reproductive rights: race, neoliberalism and the embodied violence of population policies. New Formations (91), pp. 50-68. ISSN 0950-2378.

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    Contemporary population interventions by states, international organizations and corporates have during the last two decades been effectively reframed in feminist terms of reproductive rights and choices, while continuing to perpetuate and rely upon structural and embodied violence and racialised and gendered constructions of industriousness and altruism on the one hand, and disposability, hypersexuality and excess on the other. I argue that the 21st century resurgence of population control and its reframing cannot be fully understood however, except in relation to processes of ‘accumulation by dispossession’ to which the intensification of women’s labour, and its mobilization for global capital, is central. The advent of the adolescent girl as the agent of international development, I suggest, marks the final stage in a transition from liberal to neoliberal feminism in development. Even liberal feminist critiques that sought to highlight discrimination which ostensibly prevented markets from functioning effectively are now marginalized. The focus on the pre-reproductive, pre-labouring years is thoroughly neoliberal in that intervention via education is constructed as necessary only to produce the idealized neoliberal subject who can negotiate unfettered and unregulated markets with ease, while simultaneously assuming full responsibility for social reproduction. The article goes on to reflect on India’s population policies in the context of the increasing mobilisation of gendered precarious labour for global capital, the escalation of corporate land-grab, dispossession and displacement and the growing dominance of Hindu supremacist ideology and its incitement to genocidal gendered violence against minorities. Against this background, I consider the significance of the concept of ‘reproductive justice’ and the importance of resisting current attempts to appropriate, eviscerate, and redeploy it.


    Item Type: Article
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Social Sciences
    Depositing User: Kalpana Wilson
    Date Deposited: 24 Nov 2017 08:17
    Last Modified: 02 Aug 2023 17:37


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