Affective (self-) transformations: Empathy, neoliberalism and international development

Pedwell, Carolyn (2012) Affective (self-) transformations: Empathy, neoliberalism and international development. Feminist Theory, 13 (2). pp. 163-179. ISSN 1464-7001. (doi:https://doi.org/10.1177/1464700112442644) (The full text of this publication is not currently available from this repository. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided)

The full text of this publication is not currently available from this repository. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided. (Contact us about this Publication)
Official URL
http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1464700112442644

Abstract

Affective self-transformation premised on empathy has been understood within feminist and anti-racist literatures as central to achieving social justice. Through juxtaposing debates about empathy within feminist and anti-racist theory with rhetorics of empathy in international development, and particularly writing about ‘immersions’, this article explores how the workings of empathy might be reconceptualised when relations of postcoloniality and neoliberalism are placed in the foreground. I argue that in the neoliberal economy in which the international aid apparatus operates, empathetic self-transformation can become commodified in ways that fix unequal affective subjects. Empathy may function here less to produce more intersubjective relations and ways of knowing than it does to augment the moral and affective capacities of development professionals. Yet, I suggest, it is in the ambivalences, tensions and contradictions of both emotion and neoliberalism that spaces for thinking and feeling transnational encounters differently might be cultivated.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled keywords: empathy feminist theory imagination international development neoliberalism self-transformation transnational politics
Subjects: H Social Sciences
H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman > HQ1236 Gender Politics
Divisions: Faculties > Social Sciences > School of Social Policy Sociology and Social Research
Depositing User: Carolyn Pedwell
Date Deposited: 09 Sep 2014 14:34 UTC
Last Modified: 05 Sep 2017 11:18 UTC
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/42863 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
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