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Soc. Sci. 2017, 6(2), 49;

Gender, Migration and Development: Can Advocacy Groups Be More of a Hindrance than a Help?

Centre for Rural Economy, Newcastle University, Newcastle NE1 7RU, UK
School of Geography, Politics and Sociology, Newcastle University, Newcastle NE1 7RU, UK
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Rebecca R. Scott
Received: 28 November 2016 / Revised: 26 April 2017 / Accepted: 9 May 2017 / Published: 13 May 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Gender, Environment, and Development)
Full-Text   |   PDF [238 KB, uploaded 13 May 2017]


The social world is complex and ever changing. However, to function, we need shared common knowledge for social relations and social interaction. We need categories of people, and assumptions about collective identities. While this is necessary to manage social interaction, it also leads to debates that question the essentialism of collective attributes and identities. In this article we argue that advocacy groups campaigning for the rights of women and migrants can sometimes reinforce an understanding of these groups as static and unchanging and this impedes their development. The article contends that advocacy groups, can, unintentionally, reinforce stereotypes. Two different data sets, both drawn from Northern Ireland, are used to explore this question. Our case studies raise global questions about the need for critical analysis and reflection on the strategies used by advocacy groups to advance social equality. View Full-Text
Keywords: advocacy groups; women; migrants; essentialism; policy; inequalities advocacy groups; women; migrants; essentialism; policy; inequalities
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Shortall, S.; McAreavey, R. Gender, Migration and Development: Can Advocacy Groups Be More of a Hindrance than a Help? Soc. Sci. 2017, 6, 49.

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