The Politics of Gender Violence: Law Reform in Local and Global Places


Lazarus-Black, Mindie, and Sally Engle Merry. 2003. “The Politics of Gender Violence: Law Reform in Local and Global Places.” Law & Social Inquiry 28 (4): 931-9.

Authors: Mindie Lazarus-Black, Sally Engle Merry


The end of the millennium has witnessed an enormous expansion in discourses, intervention practices, and social movements opposing violence against women. Not only does this development affect familial and gender inequalities, but it also reshapes the relationships among communities, states, and the global order. This symposium examines these changing relationships by considering how new discourses, laws, and practices about gender violence between intimates develop through local, national, and global processes. It explores local situations from a global perspective and global processes from a local perspective. Thus, it examines the local-global interface in the creation and implementation of social reforms concerning violence against women. We use the case of violence against women because it offers an excellent vantage point for analyzing the creation of an emerging global system of law based in human rights and assessing its impact on local and national laws and practices. It also offers a site to examine how local actors reformulate the content and meaning of global reform discourses. The articles track actors from local to international settings and back again as they negotiate the application of law to violence against women. This symposium is unusual in its effort to develop theoretical perspectives that consider the relationships between gender violence and the processes of nationalism and globalization. It brings together scholars who have studied efforts to combat violence between intimates in different nations. The authors' empirical ethnographic research merges a local perspective with broader studies of national and global actors and institutions.

Topics: Gender, Women, Gender-Based Violence, Globalization, International Law, International Human Rights, Nationalism, Rights, Human Rights

Year: 2003

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