The introductory chapter discusses the contested concept of harmful cultural practices (HCP) in its relationship to the equally complex notion of ‘religion’. Based on the advances made in policies, development work, and academic research on gender-based violence (GBV) and equality so far, from a feminist decolonial anthropological perspective, we suggest that although the notions of HCP/HTP and even the apparently more neutral ‘harmful practices’ (HP) are highly problematic, they remain somewhat useful terms to consider from a critical perspective. The chapter explores the tense relationships between religion and feminism and the broader histories that shape contemporary understandings and approaches of religion, gender, and harm, including the currently influential social norms theory. It argues that cultural relativism and decolonial critiques act as crucial analytical tools to understand gender inequality and work as allies in a feminist struggle against patriarchy.
|Title of host publication||Religion and Gender-Based Violence|
|Subtitle of host publication||Global and Local Responses to Harmful Practices|
|Editors||Brenda Bartelink, Chia Longman, Tamsin Bradley|
|Place of Publication||Abingdon|
|Number of pages||25|
|Publication status||Published - 15 Sept 2022|
|Name||Routledge Research in Religion and Development|