Women’s Movements in the Global South: Towards a Scalar Analysis


Roy, Srila. 2016. “Women’s Movements in the Global South: Towards a Scalar Analysis.” International Journal of Politics, Culture, and Society 29 (3): 289–306. doi:10.1007/s10767-016-9226-6.

Author: Srila Roy


This article explores the politics and ethics of scale in reading women’s movements in the Global South—how they have always been simultaneously regional, national and transnational in scale (materially if not imaginatively) and read through the twin lens of the global and the local. The first part of the essay underscores the constitutive internationalism in the history of feminism. From the ‘second wave’ of the women’s liberation movement, attempts at recognizing the internationalism in ‘global feminism’ have poorly served feminists in the ‘third world’. In more recent times, transnationalization has become the dominant signifier of women’s movements with renewed attempts at capturing the shifting scales of feminist politics in ‘transnational feminism’. Recent processes of transnationalization and NGOization bespeak an ontology of relatedness and a scalar epistemology as has been mobilized in recent writings in postcolonial sociology. The second part of the essay uses the mass protests around the rape and murder of a young woman in Delhi in 2012 as a way of thinking through the changing scales and sites of contemporary feminist protest in the Global South. I use the spatial concept of the assemblage to emphasize the multi-scalar dimensions of this protest especially through the determining influence of the media. Such a ‘protest assemblage’ produced endless possibilities of mobilization in the name of women but not always in clearly recognizable ‘feminist’ ways.

Keywords: feminism, gender, women's movement, India, Scalar epistemology, assemblage

Topics: Civil Society, Feminisms, Gender, Women, NGOs Regions: Asia, South Asia Countries: India

Year: 2016

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