En-Gendering the Police: Women’s Police Stations and Feminism in São Paulo


Santos, Cecília MacDowell. 2004. “En-Gendering the Police: Women’s Police Stations and Feminism in São Paulo.” Latin American Research Review 39 (3): 29–55. 

Author: Cecília Macdowell Santos


This article contributes to feminist state theory and studies of women's police stations in Latin America by examining the processes shaping the multiple and changing positions of explicit alliance, opposition, and ambiguous alliance assumed by policewomen regarding feminists since the creation of the world's first women's police station in 1985 in São Paulo. While studies of women's police stations tend to overlook the political conjuncture, much of the literature on the state and gender explains the relationship between the state and women's movements as a function of the political regime. I argue for a more grounded feminist state theory, taking into account interactive macro and micro, local and international forces. As this case study demonstrates, policewoman-feminist relations evolve due to interactions between the political conjuncture, the hegemonic masculinist police culture, developments in the feminist discourse on violence against women, and the impact of the contact policewomen sustain with women clients.

Topics: Feminisms, Gender, Women, Gender-Based Violence, Gendered Power Relations, Masculinism, Security, Security Sector Reform Regions: Americas, South America Countries: Brazil

Year: 2004

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