Original Research - Special Collection: Practical Theology

Rethinking poverty, power and privilege: A feminist post-structuralist research exploration

Thérèse Hulme
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 68, No 2 | a1263 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v68i2.1263 | © 2012 Thérèse Hulme | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 11 May 2012 | Published: 29 November 2012

About the author(s)

Thérèse Hulme, Department of Practical Theology, University of South Africa, South Africa


In this article, I described how the use of feminist methodology and post-structuralist analyses of the experiences of women in a poor ‘Coloured’ community in my research led to new understandings of the experiences of poverty and privilege. I discovered the relevance of Foucault’s historical analysis of the operation of ‘pastoral power’ through the narratives of women from the Scottsville community. Historical and current accounts of so-called ‘Coloured’ women’s subjugation and categorisation are reminders of how it came about that ‘being Coloured’ became associated in South Africa with shame and with ‘knowing one’s place’. Feminist post-structuralist analyses made visible the conditions that created practices of injustice in poor women’s lives whilst, at the same time, creating conditions of privilege for me. Justice-making in Scottsville therefore started with a radical rethinking of the terms by which people’s marginalisation took place and, consequently also of the terms of ‘just’ cross-cultural engagements.


Poverty; South Africa; Feminist-Poststructuralist analyses; Pastoral care; Foucault


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