Feministische Perspektiven auf den Wandel von Staatlichkeit und Gesellschaft

Feministische Perspektiven auf den Wandel von Staatlichkeit und Gesellschaft

Arbeitskreises Politik und Geschlecht in der Deutschen Vereinigung für Politische Wissenschaft im Rahmen des DVPW Kongresses "Staat und Gesellschaft - fähig zur Reform?"
From - Until
25.09.2006 - 29.09.2006
Zwingel, Susanne

Feministische Perspektiven auf den Wandel von Staatlichkeit und Gesellschaft: zwischen globalen Exklusionsprozessen und Transnationalisierung/ The transformation of state and society: Feminist perspectives on processes of global exclusion and transnationalisation

In the view of commentators, politicians and probably of a majority of the public, Germany as well as other countries of the Global North go through a severe and multi-level "crisis". Its most visible components are high - and rising - unemployment rates, increasing public budget deficits, and political reforms that have profoundly transformed and even dismantled welfare state structures. More generally speaking, socio-economic and political transformations have resulted in processes of exclusion and have produced precarious living conditions for a growing segment of the population. "Precariousness" ("Prekarisierung") in this context means not only precarious forms of employment, but a general state of insecurity and vulnerability in all dimensions of life. The need to individual flexibility, mobility, and self-exploitation under conditions of economic pressure and competitiveness has created a "non-class of the marginalized" (Candeias) as well as the figure of the "entreployee" ("Arbeitskraftunternehmer"), who bears individual responsibility for his/ her social status and personal development (Pongratz and Voß; Bröckling).

These processes are embedded in and connected to international and global developments: the logic of global financial markets and economic competition shapes the conditions for employment and wage levels within nation states. At the same time, the neoliberal notion of economics dominating politics has become a global hegemonic scheme of interpreting society. Many OECD states have intensified their security policies in response to a widespread feeling of insecurity among the population that predominantly results from political and economic de-regulation. This renaissance of national security not only undermines an international order based on multilateralism, but also fosters the polarisation between "cultures" and thus creates hostility on the global scale. In particular, the construction of "Islam" as a potential threat to freedom and democracy has created new mechanisms of exclusion for those who "look like terrorists", and it has helped to legitimise the subordination of individual rights under measures designed to enhance national security.

These processes of capitalist and nationalist exclusion, however, have also created international and transnational reactions. International organizations - and the United Nations in particular - provide a forum for the debate on universal standards of human dignity and develop mechanisms for their implementation. Transnational activists often refer to these standards to protest against inequalities and thus connect universal standards with contextualised struggles for social justice.

In our panels at the DVPW congress, we would like to bring together gender-sensitive perspectives on the transformation of state and society as well as reflections on governmental capabilities and transnational strategies to correct processes of exclusion. We would like to discuss:

a) which kinds of masculinities and femininities / gender constructions are used in the design of exclusionary politics (e.g. in legitimising the depreciation of human rights),

b) what consequences global and national processes of exclusion have on women and men, particularly in combination with other hierarchical dimensions such as nationality, class, and race, and

c) if and how feminist projects and strategies can contribute to resist exclusion and promote social justice within and beyond national borders.

Contributions may be dedicated (but not limited) to the following sets of questions:

a) Gender constructions

How are the diverse interests of women represented in debates on crisis and political reform? Is a "women's perspective" strengthened at all, or is it subordinated to "more pressing", economic or security issues? In how far does the crisis produce new images of men and women (e.g. male Opel-workers fighting for their rights; migrant female cleaners "destroying" wages; lazy unemployed men; victimised single mothers on welfare etc.)? How do international politics and national policies, for example security policies, contribute to the construction of men and women, especially in combination with "own" and "alien" cultures? How do notions of male foreign fundamentalists or foreign subordinated and submissive women influence the self-construction of male and female identity in post-industrialised societies?

b) Gendered consequences of global and national processes of exclusion

How can the new processes of exclusion be characterised, and how do they affect men and women in different contexts? What impact does the global division of labour have on gender relations within different nation states? To which degree do men and women living in OECD states benefit or suffer from it (e.g. as textile and steel workers losing their jobs due to high domestic wage levels, or as illegal immigrants being de-qualified and forced to perform cheap domestic work)? How are gender relations affected in the home countries of migrants (e.g. "care drain" based on global care chain)?

How do the political reforms in Germany and other OECD states affect gender relations? Does the transformation mean an unequivocal backlash for gender equality or does it provide some potential for new and emancipatory gender roles? What can feminists contribute to a gender-sensitive reform of the welfare state?

How can a critical perspective on national processes of exclusion consider more severe forms of deprivation in other parts of the world? How can these be seen as analytically and politically connected phenomena?

c) Transnational visions and strategies for feminist politics

Which ideas of global justice have transnational feminist activists developed? How have they related to global standards, how do they estimate their usefulness (e.g. CEDAW, the BPFA and human rights standards in general)? Were they successful in linking global standards with specific contexts, and what are the obstacles in such strategies?

What is the potential/ organisational strength of transnational feminist movements? How strong are, on the other side, transnational movements that promote gender differences and -hierarchies?

How can processes of exclusion that are not easily attributed to either the national or the international level be analysed and confronted?

Abstracts are welcomed in English and German and should not exceed two pages. Please send your proposal until November 30, 2005 to:

Institut für Europ. Ethnologie
Graduiertenkolleg, Dr. Bettina Roß
Biegenstr. 9, D - 35037 Marburg / Germany

Submissions via email are preferred.


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Institut für Europ. Ethnologie
Graduiertenkolleg, Dr. Bettina Roß
Biegenstr. 9, D - 35037 Marburg / Germany

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