A special issue of Social Movement Studies edited by Kristin Aune (University of Derby) and Jonathan Dean (University of Leeds)
What is the state of feminist social movements in 21st century Europe?
European second-wave feminism – loosely denoting the emergence of feminist activism in the 1960s and 1970s – has been extensively studied, but there is very little work on new and emerging feminist mobilisations.
Several decades on from second-wave feminism, European societies have changed in significant ways, many of them gendered, and many of which might be said to have arisen in response to feminist social movements. Recent years have seen the redrawing of national boundaries, the fall of communism and rise of capitalism in Eastern Europe, the increasing influence of neoliberalism, the development of new information technologies, and the feminization and increasing precarity of the labour market. Although there is now a substantial literature on the gendered aspects of these transformations and the impact of feminism on state institutions, there is little research on how contemporary feminist activist movements respond to, and engage with, these profound transformations in the gender regimes of European societies.
Additionally, many academic and social commentators have said that feminist movements are no longer as vibrant and radical as they once were and that young people are disconnected from feminism and social movement activism more broadly. But it is evident that feminism continues to be a significant social and political force, albeit often in ways that depart from traditional models of movement activism and cut across generational boundaries.
Against this backdrop, the special issue asks: how have 21st century feminisms responded to the changing gendered realities of contemporary Europe? Is European feminist activism in decline, or is it taking on a renewed visibility and significance? And in what ways do the demands and practices of European feminists converge and diverge in different contexts?
Questions to be explored include, but are not limited to, the following:
- What are the key demands and foci of contemporary feminist activisms, and how do they vary across contexts?
- What kinds of strategies, tactics and organisational structures characterise new feminist activisms in Europe?
- What is the cultural and political reach of “third wave” feminism? To what extent is a wave-based generational metaphor appropriate for making sense of the histories of feminism in different contexts? What are the main (dis)connections between contemporary feminist activism, and earlier waves/generations?
- Is feminism still a women’s movement? What is the place of men and queer, intersex and transgendered people in these new feminist groups?
- How do diasporic communities and the politics of migration interact with the new feminisms?
- What role do new information technologies play within the new feminisms?
- What are the connections between feminist social movements and left-wing politics? What role does feminism play in student protest and activism against austerity measures across Europe?
- In what ways do new feminist movements reflect and contest their different national landscapes? In what ways have democratic transitions (including those from fascism and communism) impacted upon feminist movements? Or is the distinctiveness of nation for feminist movements increasingly eroded in a digitally-mediated world? How do European feminists engage with globalization? Is what ways is the local (e.g. the city, neighbourhood or place) still significant?
- How do social movements relate to the institutionalisation of feminism in national and international politics (e.g. through the EU)? What are the different ways in which feminist movements engage with political parties?
- How do new feminist movements address intersectionality in relation to ethnicity, class, sexuality, health, disability and other related areas?
- How are new feminisms engaging with the changing religious realities, including secularization and the rise of fundamentalisms, of countries in Europe?
The call is open and competitive. Each submission will be subject to the usual (blind) review process. Deadline for submission of articles (maximum 8,000 words including bibliography and notes) is Friday 13th July 2012. Articles should be formatted according to the Social Movement Studies style guide (K.Aune and ipijde, to whom any queries should be directed.
It is anticipated that the special issue will be published in early 2014.