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This chapter traces the North-South relations between international aid agencies and feminist movements in Brazil. Drawing on ethnographic research and interviews at both ends of the aid chain, the chapter argues that the surprising appearance in the 1990s of market-based practices among antineoliberal feminist organizations was rooted in the “shadow commodity chain.” This series of segmented transnational relationships—which linked Northern states, nongovernmental donors, Latin American NGOs, and grassroots social movements—conveyed calculative discourses along with much-needed funds. Unlike the commodity chains of world-systems theory, at each step along the chain actors exchanged economic resources not for tangible products but for discursive commodities, such as claims of movement success or class authenticity, which were then traded further up the chain. The leverage gained in these exchanges by apparently more disadvantaged groups allowed them to contest neoliberal meanings with their own narratives of gender and social justice.

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