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Women community leaders in low-income, high-risk urban settings in Medellin, Colombia

Lirio Gutiérrez Rivera, Universidad Nacional de Colombia 22 September

Activity: CEDLA lecture

Women’s agency in Latin America has been largely understood within feminist projects that seek emancipation, gender rights, and transformation of gender relations. This makes sense in a region with the highest levels of gender inequality on the planet. However, explaining women’s agency from this viewpoint rooted in the liberal tradition limits our understanding of other forms of agency occurring in the region and that go unnoticed.

In this lecture, Lirio Gutiérrez Rivera discusses other forms of women’s agency in Latin America drawing conceptually on Mahmood’s (2001) seminal work on agency. She focuses on women community leaders in low-income urban neighborhoods in Medellín, Colombia, characterized by violence and the presence of criminal gangs. Women community leaders display a capacity to respond in high-risk urban settings based on care and on their ability to produce territory. In doing so, women community leaders reweave the social fabric of their neighborhoods and ascribe a political dimension to care that is not framed within feminist projects of emancipation or transformation.

About the picture: Guache Aranjuez in Medellin, Antioquia, Colombia, 2016 | Street art graffiti, Street mural, Street art


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