Namibian narratives: women’s laps as intimate and complex spaces of care

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractScientific


This paper considers whether inclusive development is effective in Namibia and how it promotes and supports women and their informal livelihoods such as craft making. Drawing on ethnographic fieldwork carried out in Namibia during 2011, this paper reflects on the role women’s laps, as complex, hybrid spaces that sustain livelihoods and emotional wellbeing, play in Namibian communities. Although multiple and complex daily activities, such as extending care towards family members, especially children, and to produce craft and design artefacts, are overlapping in these intimate bodily spheres the significance of these spaces remain unrecognised. Scholars have recently questioned the meaning of ‘inclusive development’, a theme related to women’s studies, in global societies and the role it plays in supporting informal livelihoods. Inclusiveness could serve as a tool to critically reappraise policies that concern local economic development. Such an approach has the potential to curb income inequality and stimulate the recognition of the roles informal economies and work play in the lives of women all over the world. Namibian women in informal work need to be supported through appropriate inclusive development policies that recognise these intimate spaces in which care giving is extended to families and livelihoods earned. This paper presents some opportunities for inclusive development by discussing how the stories of Namibian women can strengthen their voice and power to negotiate better futures for them and their families.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2014
MoEC publication typeNot Eligible
EventGendered Perspectives Conference - Flinders University, Adelaide, Australia
Duration: 19 Jun 201420 Jun 2014


ConferenceGendered Perspectives Conference

Field of science

  • Visual arts and design


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