Civila samhället

Vetenskapsrådets ramprogram för forskning om det civila samhället

Drömmar om förändring. Kvinnor och skapandet av det civila samhället i Artiska regionen, Asien, Latin Amerika och Europa

Diana Mulinari, professor, Sociologiska institutionen, Lunds universitet, projektledare.
Llisbeth Lewander
Lena Martinsson
Helle Rydström
Tiina Rosenberg
Katrin Scott
Chia-Ling Yang


Theoretical and methodological frame
The aim of the project is to explore the heterogeneity of women´s organizations and of civil society organizations targeting women and children; asserting the variety of meaning giving to gender equality and feminism globally. We want to through an historical comparative and international scope analyze the different kind of women´s organizations, civil society organizations targeting women and children and of feminisms that develop in diverse national/regional contexts. We want to understand the shifting meanings of feminism evolving from these diverse frames and analyses the varied, contradictory and conflicting roles these organizations play in strengthen democratic practices within civil society. Methodologically the project departs from the notion of global ethnography and is composed by a set of case studies of women´s organizations, civil society organizations that target women and children and feminism activism in the Arctic region, Asia, Latin America and Europe. Questions regarding the meaning of feminism and of women´s rights remain contested issues globally. These questions at are the core of this research project.

Women´s participation in movements for environmental justice, debt reduction, labor and migrant right is well documented. Yet, these studies point to heterogeneous models for feminism and a diversity in purpose, content and practice. They often point to the disparate ways in which women identify themselves as feminists and to the often contradictory ways win which gender demands are named and acted upon as feminist demands. Feminism is within this research project conceptualizes as a discursive field of action which spans into a vast array of theoretical, cultural, social and political arenas at the core of civil society.

The research project takes its point of departure and aims to further develop in a critical dialogue with the empirical material, three central concepts: Gender and social justice. The key aspects of the concept of civil society used in this project are derived from Gramsci´s frame, the presumption of contestation as well as accommodation over a plurality of ideas, practices and power. The aim of the project is to further develop and extent this conceptualization to include an analysis of gender and sexuality regimes in the doing of the social in general and of civil society in particular.

The cases studies have been chosen to provide for the possibility of analytical comparison evolving from the commonalities and differences of women´s movements, civil society organizations targeting women and children and feminisms globally. We depart from the tradition of global ethnography and will deploy a battery of methods All the case studies will grasps continuities and changes through a time-scope perspective. Central questions are: what (if any) is the relationship between women´s organizations struggling for access to water, decent wages, human rights etc and feminism activism? What ideas are at the core of the understanding of gender equality and feminism within these different kinds of organizations within civil society? Which type of understanding of social justice and of civil society evolves from these practices and how is this understanding operationalized? How do (different) women´s organizations locate themselves in relationship to the state, to state institutions and to other actors in civil society? What kind of demands (if any) evolves from their understanding of gender and to who are these demands channeled?

The case studies

Arctic: Land, Water and the Environment. Communities working locally and transnationally for gender equality in sub polar and polar areas. Gender at work in the Arctic Council (Lisbeth Lewander)

Europe: Negotiating Gender Equality and Feminism in Post-social democratic states, Sweden and Germany (Tina Rosenberg)

Kurdistan: Gender, Education and social change. (Katrine Scott).

South America: Contested Concepts. Feminism and Human Rights in Latin America (Diana Mulinari)

South Asia: Poverty, Inequality and Gender. Feminism Confronts Injustice in Pakistan. (Lena Martinsson)

South East Asia: Translating the “Nordic model” to Confucianism. Women´s organizations in Taiwan. (Chia-Ling Yang)

South East Asia: Challenged Feminism: The Women´s Union in Late Socialist Global Vietnam  (Helle Rydström)

Documents (links)
» H. Rydström: Encountering ’Hot Anger’
» H. Rydström: Masculinity and Punishment
» H. Rydström: Sexual Desires and ’Social Evils’
» H. Rydström: Gendered Corporeality and Bare Lives
» D. Mulinari: The social as a field of struggle
» T. Rosenberg: The Post-Social Democratic Condition: Feminist Activism in Sweden and Germany