Brock in the World - Peru

Brock in the World - Peru

Brock Researcher Receives Grant to Study the Gift Economy in the Rainforests of Peru
June 14, 2006

Ana Isla, Assistant Professor in the Centre for Women's Studies and the Department of Sociology at Brock University, has received a $60,000 (U.S.) grant from the U.S. Gift Economy Institute, Rachael and Ben Vaughan Foundation.

Isla's research project, entitled "The Subsistence Perspective in the Rainforest of Peru," will examine a Peruvian rainforest society where women's work is highly valued as a result of the regional gift economy system. Her research will examine a culture in which women are ecologically competent and active citizens who provide services, resources and support to the community.

A gift economy is one where goods and services are given without the expectation of receiving something in return. This is unlike the prevailing international global economy, which is built on the concept of exchange, which can be described as giving in order to receive.

"The purpose of this project is to present a different story about the contributions of women in a society where they are the primary providers of food, clothing and resources for the population," says Isla. "By examining the unique conditions of the gift economy and their participation in it, I hope to show how these women are in control of their own lives. They exhibit a great deal of pride and dignity in their work because their labour is highly valued in their society where the idea of housewives, as we know it, simply does not exist."

The grant will be shared with a Peruvian non-governmental organization (NGO) working with women in the rainforest.

For more information, please contact Ana Isla, Assistant Professor, Women's Studies and Sociology, at 905-688-5550, ext. 3466.