Cultivating ‘new’ gendered food producers: intersections of power and identity in the postcolonial nation of Trinidad

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Colleges, School and Institutes

Abstract

This paper advances a critical gendered analysis of the ways in which food-producing identities are constructed and mobilized in Trinidad. Utilizing a historical and intersectional feminist lens, it shows how gendered identities and subjectivities both shape and are shaped by the political economy, and are intimately intertwined with race, class, and nation. The research draws on fieldwork conducted between 2012 and 2016. Through historical analysis of secondary literature and visual analysis of a billboard campaign that attempted to cultivate ‘new’ images of farmers and agriculture, it shows how traditional Caribbean identities–informed by distinctive colonial legacies–are both reproduced and reformulated in the contemporary neoliberal era. The paper argues that the construction of food-producing identities is a complex combination of colonial history, positionality, self-making and aspiration, and how actors encounter, experience and engender these has implications for how we understand relations between the state, capital and food producers. It makes three key contributions. Firstly, it enriches Feminist IPE scholarship with an intersectional analysis of situated gendered identities and their relationship to political-economic processes beyond class. Secondly, it highlights the importance of studying peripheralized regions in the global South and applying the insights of their feminist scholars for understanding broader power relations in the Global Political Economy (GPE). Finally, it demonstrates how an intersectional framework can shed light on why local food and agricultural policy plays out in distinct ways.

Details

Original languageEnglish
JournalReview of International Political Economy
Early online date2 Oct 2019
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2 Oct 2019

Keywords

  • agriculture, Caribbean, feminist international political economy, food, Gender, identity, intersectionality, neoliberalism, post-colonialism, power