Presentation Details

The Second International Conference on New Directions in the Humanities

Speaking of Democracy: Activists and Donors in Dar es Salaam

Victoria Bernal.

Drawing on fieldwork in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, this paper explores the complex relationships between local women activists and international donors, asking: How might a focus on women's NGOs help us to see globalization, democratization, and rights issues in new ways? Much scholarship has focussed on the speed of global transactions and the efficacy of transnational linkages. Here, I want to analyze the ironies, contradictions, and conflicts that arise from the complex interpenetrations of local and global governmentalities. The global does not merely circulate or connect but is already present in what passes for local. While universalist discourses of human rights at the global level have been the subject of much debate, less attention has been accorded to the ways transnational funding and organizing are linked to fundamental changes in local civil society as national political arenas become globalized and local activists participate directly in global circuits of discourses and resources.


Victoria Bernal  (United States)

Anthropology Department
University of California, Irvine

  • Globalization
  • Feminism
  • Civil society
  • Democracy

(30 min. Conference Paper, English)