Abstract

With a particular focus on interventions aimed at eradicating female genital mutilation (FGM) in Ethiopia, this article discusses the increased use of religious leaders as a strategy in development practice, showing that the use of religious leaders in these interventions is informed by an instrumental approach and narrow and static assumptions of power. We argue that for religious leaders to be actors of social change, a reconceptualization of power and power dynamics and a critical discussion about the consequences and limitations of instrumentalist approaches are needed. These issues are of particular importance in contexts where monological discourses and vertical structures dominate and influence interventions, local responses to them, and religious leaders’ legitimacy.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1527-1978
Print ISSN
0001-9887
Pages
pp. 82-101
Launched on MUSE
2014-05-08
Open Access
No
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