Life Skills as Affective Labour: Skilling Girls with Gendered Enterprise

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13 Scopus citations


The international development industry presents the education and empowerment of racialised adolescent girls as a panacea for community, national and global problems. Equipping girls with ‘life skills’ has recently gained traction as the newest solution. Drawing on an ethnography of one such girl-targeted intervention by an international non-governmental organisation, this paper positions life skills as a form of affective labour. As neo-liberal development logics of affective enterprise are translated to empower non-elite girls in New Delhi, the gendered lessons shape new kinds of entrepreneurial Indian femininities and structure young women’s aspirations along regulated lines of caste and class.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)705-722
Number of pages18
JournalSouth Asia: Journal of South Asia Studies
StatePublished - 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Cultural Studies
  • History
  • Development
  • Sociology and Political Science


  • Affective labour
  • aspiration
  • empowerment
  • entrepreneurial femininities
  • girlhood
  • skills


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