Invited spaces and informal practices in participatory community forest management in India

Nandigama, S.


This chapter shows how the formal participation of men and women in a community-based forest management project shapes and is shaped by informal practices. The gender analysis is based on an ethnographic case study of a village in Andhra Pradesh, India. It aims to contribute to a better understanding of the gendered practices of participation in a highly stratified community structure. The chapter explores how women’s participation is influenced by the prevalent notions and self-images of femininities and masculinities and by their everyday roles in informal practices. It observes that actors adapt the functioning of formal spaces of participation to suit their local situations. The chapter demonstrates that focusing on formal spaces is insuficient to understand gendered participation. Instead, the findings show that despite being marginalised in their formal roles, the women used the project intervention to increase their bargaining power, and to gain visibility and status in the community.