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Civil Society

Gender in Development Discourses of Civil Society Organisations and Mekong Hydropower Dams


Lebel, Louis, Phimphakan Lebel, Kanokwan Manorom, and Zhou Yishu. 2019. “Gender in Development Discourses of Civil Society Organisations and Mekong Hydropower Dams.” Water Alternatives 12 (1): 192–220.

Authors: Louis Lebel, Phimphakan Lebel, Kanokwan Manorom, Zhou Yishu


'Gender in development' discourses are used to justify interventions into, or opposition to, projects and policies; they may also influence perceptions, practices, or key decisions. Four discursive threads are globally prominent: livelihoods and poverty; natural resources and the environment; rights-based; and managerial. Civil society organisations (CSOs) have been vocal in raising awareness about the adverse impacts of large-scale hydropower developments on the environment, on local livelihoods, and on vulnerable groups including women. This discourse analysis first examines how CSOs engaging in hydropower processes in the Mekong Region frame and use gender in development discourses, and then evaluates the potential of these discourses to empower both women and men. Documents authored by CSOs are examined in detail for how gender is represented, as are media reports on CSO activities, interview transcripts, and images. The findings underline how CSOs depend on discursive legitimacy for influence. Their discursive strategies depend on three factors: the organizations’ goals with respect to development, gender, and the environment; whether the situation is pre- or post-construction; and, on their relationships with the state, project developers and dam-affected communities. The implications of these strategies for empowerment are often not straightforward; inadvertent and indirect effects, positive and negative, are common. The findings of this study are of practical value to CSOs wishing to be more reflexive in their work and more responsive to how it is talked about, as it shows the ways that language and images may enhance or inadvertently work against efforts to empower women.

Keywords: civil society organisations, gender in development, discourse, representation, hydropower

Topics: Civil Society, Development, Environment, Gender, Infrastructure, Energy, Livelihoods Regions: Asia, East Asia, Southeast Asia Countries: Cambodia, China, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam

Year: 2019

Old Ties and New Binds: LGBT Rights, Homonationalisms, Europeanization and Post-War Legacies in Serbia


Gabbard, Sonnet D’Amour. 2017. “Old Ties and New Binds: LGBT Rights, Homonationalisms, Europeanization and Post-War Legacies in Serbia.” PhD diss., The Ohio State University.

Author: Sonnet D’Amour Gabbard


My dissertation examines the historic links between the anti-war activists in Serbia with the current efforts and work for LGBT justice and rights. As an interdisciplinary scholar, my work integrates a variety of epistemologies across disciplines by putting anti-war and LGBT activists' experience in Serbia into conversation with one another to address unique vulnerabilities. Drawing from transnational feminist and queer critiques of governance, (homo)nationalism, and transnational sexuality studies, I consider how new nonheterosexual identity politics—with roots in anti-war activism—have surfaced in Serbia since the Kosovo War. I argue that it is at the intersection of anti-war and LGBT organizing that new and conflicting identity politics have emerged, in part as a reaction to a pro-war hyper-nationalism and neoliberal globalization.

Keywords: LGBT, Balkans, sexuality studies, feminism, transnational, global studies, international relations, development, Serbia, Yugoslavia, post-conflict, Transgender, lesbian, gay, pride parade, gentrification, Slavic studies, queer

Topics: Civil Society, Feminisms, Governance, Globalization, Justice, LGBTQ, Nationalism, Post-Conflict, Post-Conflict Reconstruction, Rights, Sexuality Regions: Europe, Balkans, Eastern Europe Countries: Serbia

Year: 2017

Women's War: Gender Activism in the Vietnam War and in the Wars for Kurdish Autonomy


Chaguri, Mariana Miggiolaro, and Flávia X. M. Paniz. 2019. "Women's War: Gender Activism in the Vietnam War and in the Wars for Kurdish Autonomy." Sociologia & Antropologia 9 (3): 895-918.

Authors: Mariana Miggiolaro Chaguri, Flávia X. M. Paniz


This paper debates women’s activism in two events: the Vietnam War (1954-1975) and the historical Kurdish struggle for autonomy (known as “Kurdish question”). We hypothesize that the reorganization of gender roles during the conflicts marks the meanings of wars and configures what we call a woman for the times of war, that is, a woman who transits across the spaces of public confrontation, armed conflict and domesticity. The approach outlined here is structured into three parts: the first and the second ones present aspects of both conflicts by pointing to possible convergences and differences between them; we also present the variety of networks of participation and activism of women in both cases. In the third and final part, we discuss the interfaces among the production of gender, war, and ideas, crossing a manifold of narratives, experiences, and stories that reveal different dimensions of wars and nations, and the diversity of the regimes of ideas that attached to them.

Este artigo problematiza a participação e debate o ativismo de mulheres em dois eventos: a Guerra do Vietnã (1954-1975) e as guerras pelo Curdistão (1923 em diante). Como hipótese, sustentamos que tais lutas podem ser lidas a partir do esforço comum de tornar inteligível e nomear um conjunto variado de experiências que, reorganizadas a partir ou em função do conflito armado, produzem novas mediações entre gênero e nação. O artigo está dividido em três partes: nas duas primeiras, são apresentados aspectos dos dois conflitos apontando eventuais convergências e diferenças; na sequência, observam-se as variadas formas de participação e de ativismo de mulheres existentes nos dois casos; finalmente, são debatidas as interfaces entre a produção do gênero, da guerra e das ideias, percorrendo uma multiplicidade de narrativas, experiências e relatos que apontam para a dimensão heterogênea das guerras, das nações e, portanto, do regime de ideias que deve acompanhá-las.

Keywords: gender, war, nation and nationalism, post-colonial feminism, gênero, guerra, nação e nacionalismo, feminismo pós-colonial

Topics: Armed Conflict, National Liberation Wars, Civil Society, Coloniality/Post-Coloniality, Feminisms, Gender, Women, Nationalism Regions: MENA, Asia, Middle East, Southeast Asia Countries: Iran, Iraq, Syria, Turkey, Vietnam

Year: 2019

The Success of Women's Participation In Resolving Conflicts In Liberia


Masitoh, Dewi. 2020. "The Success of Women's Participation In Resolving Conflicts In Liberia." Journal of Governance 5 (1): 71-90.

Author: Dewi Masitoh


The Civil War that occurred in Liberia has been going on for a long time, where there are two rebel groups, they are: Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy (LURD) and Movement for Democracy in Liberia (MODEL). Both of these rebel groups have caused gender inequality in Liberia continuously, especially women who have been victims of this war. However, with the efforts and participation of women from Liberian society, the war was successfully reconciled without creating violence. This research is aimed at realizing that women are not only victims of gender inequality, but can also be 'agents of change' in creating peace and better change for the future of a country. This research will use qualitative research methods, that emphasize the observation and understanding of a social phenomenon, where data is collected through secondary data and literature review. This research will analyze the case using three concepts: Feminism, Gender Equality, and Peace. The research concluded that there have been several efforts that have been made by women to resolve conflicts in Liberia by creating and building peace sustainably so that peace can be stable for a long time. The efforts that have been made by Liberian women are by creating several organizations and affiliations, they are: Woman in the Peacebuilding Network (WIPNET), Mano River Women's Peace Network (MARWOPNET), Association of Female Lawyers of Liberia (AFELL). This long-term peace can improve gender equality in several sectors of Liberian society, such as the economy and political sectors that are getting better and more effective from year to year.

Keywords: women's participation, conflicts, democracy, Liberia, Movement

Topics: Armed Conflict, Civil Wars, Civil Society, Feminisms, Gender, Women, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Peacebuilding Regions: Africa, West Africa Countries: Liberia

Year: 2020

Civil Society Perspectives on Sexual Violence in Conflict: Patriarchy and War Strategy in Colombia


Kreft, Anne-Kathrin. 2020. "Civil Society Perspectives on Sexual Violence in Conflict: Patriarchy and War Strategy in Colombia." International Affairs 96 (2): 457-78.

Author: Anne-Kathrin Kreft


In international policy circles, conflict-related sexual violence (CRSV) is commonly viewed as a weapon of war, a framing that researchers have criticized as overly simplistic. Feminist scholars in particular caution that the ‘weapon of war’ framing decontextualizes sexual violence in conflict from the structural factors of gender inequality that underpin its perpetration. In light of these tensions, how do politically relevant local actors perceive the nature and the origins of conflict-related sexual violence? Civil society organizations often actively confront conflict-related sexual violence on the ground. A better understanding of how their perceptions of this violence align or clash with the globally dominant ‘weapon of war’ narratives therefore has important policy implications. Interviews with representatives of Colombian women's organizations and victims' associations reveal that these civil society activists predominantly view conflict-related sexual violence as the result of patriarchal structures. The mobilized women perceive sexual violence as a very gendered violence that exists on a continuum extending through peace, the everyday and war, and which the presence of arms exacerbates. Strategic sexual violence, too, is understood to ultimately have its basis in patriarchal structures. The findings expose a disconnect between the globally dominant ‘weapon of war’ understanding that is decontextualized from structural factors and a local approach to CRSV that establishes clear linkages to societal gender inequality.

Topics: Civil Society, Conflict, Gendered Power Relations, Patriarchy, Gender Equality/Inequality, Sexual Violence Regions: Americas, South America Countries: Colombia

Year: 2020

The Dark Underbelly of Land Struggles: The Instrumentalization of Female Activism and Emotional Resistance in Cambodia


Hennings, Anne. 2019. “The Dark Underbelly of Land Struggles: The Instrumentalization of Female Activism and Emotional Resistance in Cambodia.” Critical Asian Studies 51 (1): 103–19.

Author: Anne Hennings


Facing land grabs and eviction in the name of development, women worldwide increasingly join land rights struggles despite often deeply engrained images of female domesticity and conventional gender norms. Yet, the literature on female agency in the context of land struggles has remained largely underexplored. Based on extensive ethnographic fieldwork, my findings suggest that land rights activism in Cambodia has undergone a gendered re-framing process. Reasoning that women use non-violent means of contestation and are less prone to violence from security personnel, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) push women affected by land grabs and eviction to the frontline of protests. Moreover, female activists are encouraged to publicly display emotions, such as the experienced pain behavior that sharply contrasts with Cambodian norms of feminine modesty. I critically question this women-to-the-front strategy and, drawing on Sara Ahmed’s politics of emotions approach, show the adverse risks for female activists. Furthermore, I demonstrate that the instrumentalization of female bodies and emotions in land rights protests perpetuate gender disparities instead of strengthening female agency in the Cambodian society and opening up political space for women.

Keywords: dispossession, land grabbing, gendered eviction, politics of emotion, Cambodia

Topics: Civil Society, Gender, Land grabbing, NGOs, Nonviolence, Political Participation, Rights, Land Rights Regions: Asia, Southeast Asia Countries: Cambodia

Year: 2019

Impact of Gender Policy on Post-Conflict Reconstruction and Security in Rwanda


Svobodová, Karolina. 2019. "Impact of Gender Policy on Post-Conflict Reconstruction and Security in Rwanda." African Security Review 28 (2): 124-38.

Author: Karolina Svobodová


The article analyses the relation between security and enhanced women’s participation in political, legal, and social matters in Rwanda after the genocide. Rwanda serves as a unique example of the fast empowerment of women in a developing state and hence as a model sui generis for investigating connections between greater female participation in post-conflict reconstruction and an improving security situation. The analysis consists of three research questions which examine the results achieved by women in legislation, civil society, and the judiciary, and their impact on the improvement of security in Rwanda.

Keywords: Rwanda, gender, security, post-conflict reconstruction

Topics: Civil Society, Gender, Women, Genocide, Post-Conflict, Post-Conflict Reconstruction, Political Participation, Security Regions: Africa, Central Africa, East Africa Countries: Rwanda

Year: 2019

Thinking Eco-Feminism


Jahanbegloo, Ramin, and Vandana Shiva. 2013. “Thinking Eco-Feminism.” In Talking Environment: Vandana Shiva in Conversation with Ramin Jahanbegloo. Oxford University Press.

Authors: Ramin Jahanbegloo, Vandana Shiva


In this section, Vandana Shiva talks about her book Ecofeminism, which offers a critique of patriarchal violence, capitalism, and colonialism. She comments on the reductive nature of scientific reasoning and argues that reductionism influences the way people think about the world around them. Discussing the connection between reduction and science, Vandana views eco-feminism as recognition of the conquest of nature and the conquest of human beings. She explains how reductionist science results in ignorance; how science is related to techno-science; and techno-science as a form of knowledge. Moreover, she emphasizes the role of mutual care and love in a global civil society; biodiversity and the plurality of knowledge in a community; how corporations and scientists are harming nature and biodiversity; eco-feminism and the feminism of ordinary women; poverty in India; how Indians can fight corruption; and the negative impact of globalization on spirituality and the ‘sacredness of life’.

Keywords: Vandana Shiva, ecofeminism, India, poverty, corruption, reductionism, eco-feminism, techno-science, feminism, spirituality

Topics: Civil Society, Coloniality/Post-Coloniality, Environment, Feminisms, Ecofeminism, Gendered Power Relations, Patriarchy, Globalization, Livelihoods, Violence Regions: Asia, South Asia Countries: India

Year: 2013

What's Feminist about Feminist Foreign Policy? Sweden's and Canada's Foreign Policy Agendas


Thomson, Jennifer. 2020. “What's Feminist about Feminist Foreign Policy? Sweden's and Canada's Foreign Policy Agendas.” International Studies Perspectives.  doi:10.1093/isp/ekz032. 

Author: Jennifer Thomson


Across politics and public discourse, feminism is experiencing a global renaissance. Yet feminist academic work is divided over the burgeoning use of the term, particularly in reference to economic and international development policy. For some, feminism has been co-opted for neoliberal economic ends; for others, it remains a critical force across the globe. This article explores the nascent feminist foreign policies of Sweden and Canada. Employing a discourse analysis of both states’ policy documents, it asks what the term “feminist” meant in preliminary attempts at constructing a feminist foreign policy. It argues that although both use the term “feminist,” they understand the term very differently, with Sweden centering it in domestic and international commitments to change, while Canada places greater emphasis on the private sector. This suggests that this policy agenda is still developing its central concepts, and is thus ripe for intervention on the part of policymakers and civil society organizations.

A través de la política y el discurso público, el feminismo está experimentando un renacimiento global. Sin embargo, el trabajo académico feminista está dividido por el uso creciente del término, particularmente en referencia a la política de desarrollo económico e internacional. Para algunos, el feminismo ha sido cooptado para fines económicos neoliberales; para otros, sigue siendo una fuerza fundamental en todo el mundo. Este artículo analiza las incipientes políticas exteriores feministas de Suecia y Canadá. Al emplear un análisis del discurso de los documentos de las políticas de ambos estados, se pregunta qué significaba el término «feminista» en los intentos preliminares de construir una política exterior feminista. Se argumenta que si bien ambos estados usan el término «feminista», entienden el término de manera muy diferente, ya que Suecia se centra en los compromisos nacionales e internacionales de cambio, mientras que Canadá pone un mayor énfasis en el sector privado. Esto sugiere que este proyecto aún está desarrollando sus conceptos centrales; por lo tanto, es propicio para la intervención de los responsables de formular políticas y las organizaciones de la sociedad civil.

On assiste actuellement à une renaissance du féminisme dans la politique et le débat public à l’échelle mondiale. Cependant, les spécialistes académiques du féminisme sont divisés sur l'utilisation naissante du terme, notamment en référence à la politique économique et de développement international. Pour certains, le féminisme a été coopté à des fins économiques néolibérales ; pour d'autres, il demeure une force majeure dans le monde. Cet article étudie les politiques étrangères féministes naissantes de la Suède et du Canada. S'appuyant sur une analyse du discours de la politique des deux états, il s'interroge sur le sens entendu du terme « féministe » lors des premières tentatives d’élaboration d'une politique étrangère féministe. Il soutient que, bien que les deux états utilisent le terme « féministe », ils le comprennent de manière très différente : en effet, la Suède place le féminisme au cœur des engagements nationaux et internationaux de changement, tandis que le Canada le situe davantage dans le domaine privé. Cela suggère que cet agenda politique est encore en train de développer ses concepts centraux et que, par conséquent, le moment est venu pour les décideurs politiques et les organisations de la société civile d'intervenir.

Keywords: feminism, feminist theory, foreign policy, feminist foreign policy, sweden, Canada

Topics: Civil Society, Development, Economies, Feminisms, Feminist Foreign Policy Regions: Americas, North America, Europe, Nordic states, Northern Europe Countries: Canada, Sweden

Year: 2020

Conclusion: Emphasized Femininity/Hegemonic Masculinity and Constructivism/Essentialism


Maleta, Yulia. 2019. “Conclusion: Emphasized Femininity/Hegemonic Masculinity and Constructivism/Essentialism.” In Feminism, Republicanism, Egalitarianism, Environmentalism: Bill of Rights and Gendered Sustainable Initiatives. New York: Routledge.

Author: Yulia Maleta


This book has addressed a gap on the interplay of emphasized femininity/hegemonic masculinity and constructivism/essentialism within the eNSM and its eSMOs. Utilising my interviews with Australian women members of renewables organisational governance (IeNGOs, grassroots organisations, academic institutions and the Greens party), I applied a constructivist approach to emphasized femininity, arguing that women-led sustainable-social change strategies, strengthened through participants’ agentic technical-scientific performative competencies (and multiple skills set: intellectual, social, empathetic and physical), challenges the patriarchal control of global politics and rigid structures of hierarchy and bureaucracy. More women in sustainable technological leadership, should contribute to global peace as well as desired gender justice outcomes.

Topics: Civil Society, Environment, Gender, Women, Masculinity/ies, Femininity/ies, Gendered Power Relations, Patriarchy, Gender Hierarchies, NGOs Regions: Oceania Countries: Australia

Year: 2019


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