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Governance

Constructing Humanitarian Selves and Refugee Others

Citation:

Olivius, Elisabeth. 2016. “Constructing Humanitarian Selves and Refugee Others.” International Feminist Journal of Politics 18 (2): 270–90.

Author: Elisabeth Olivius

Abstract:

Contributing to ongoing debates about what happens when feminism is institutionalized in global governance, this article examines how gender equality is given meaning and applied in humanitarian aid to refugees, and what the implications are with regard to the production of subjectivities and their positioning in relations of power. Drawing on Foucauldian and postcolonial feminist perspectives, the analysis identifies two main representations of what it means to promote gender equality in refugee situations. Gender equality is represented as a means to aid effectiveness through the strategic mobilization of refugee women's participation, and as a project of development, involving the transformation of “traditional” or “backward” refugee cultures into modern societies. The subject positions that are produced categorically cast refugees as either passive or problematic subjects who need to be rescued, protected, assisted, activated, controlled and reformed through humanitarian interventions, while humanitarian workers are positioned as rational administrators and progressive agents of social transformation. In effect, gender equality is used to sustain power asymmetries in refugee situations and to reproduce global hierarchies.

Keywords: global governance, gender equality, refugees, humanitarian aid, governmentality, postcolonial feminism, Thailand, Bangladesh

Topics: Displacement & Migration, Refugee/IDP Camps, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Governance, Humanitarian Assistance, NGOs Regions: Asia, South Asia, Southeast Asia Countries: Bangladesh, Thailand

Year: 2016

Non-territorial Autonomy and Gender Equality: The Case of the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria – Rojava

Citation:

Rosa, Burç. 2020. "Non-territorial Autonomy and Gender Equality: The Case of the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria – Rojava." Filozofija i drustvo 31 (3): 319-339.

Author: Burç Rosa

Abstract:

The Kurdish-led autonomous entity called Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria (NES) - also known as Rojava - considers women’s liberation an imperative condition for shaping a democratic society. The practice of autonomy in NES shares strong resemblances with Non- Territorial Autonomy (NTA) models; however, it introduces a novelty in the role of women as active agents in building a plurinational democracy. This paper examines (1) the intellectual and political origins of the political role ascribed to women in autonomous administrations and (2) how the practice of autonomy in Rojava has advanced women’s rights by shedding light on both institutional implementation of women’s rights, as well as the creation of (non)-territorial spaces of women’s emancipation within the autonomous model. The argument made is that the conceptual framework of the Rojava model goes beyond the Kurdish question and can be considered an attempt to resolve a democratic deficit of liberal democratic nation-states through bringing together solutions that address the intertwined subordination of minorities and women.

Keywords: women, representation, plurinational democracy, non-territorial autonomy, Kurdish question, Syria, Rojava, minorities

Topics: Armed Conflict, Secessionist Wars, Democracy / Democratization, Governance, Political Participation, Rights, Women's Rights Regions: MENA, Asia, Middle East Countries: Syria

Year: 2020

Rethinking Knowledge Systems for Urban Resilience: Feminist and Decolonial Contributions to Just Transformations

Citation:

Wijsman, Katinka, and Mathieu Feagan. 2019. “Rethinking Knowledge Systems for Urban Resilience: Feminist and Decolonial Contributions to Just Transformations.” Environmental Science & Policy 98 (August): 70–76..

Authors: Katinka Wijsman, Mathieu Feagan

Abstract:

Work in urban resilience planning recognizes the importance of knowledge diversity to understanding and acting on climate change, but falls short in adequately situating itself within ongoing historical processes that shape uneven urban playing fields in which planning happens. This paper uses insights from environmental feminist and decolonial knowledge politics to challenge knowledge systems analysis to explicitly question and alter structures of power in environmental knowledge making in North American cities. If knowledge systems analysis can investigate and intervene in governance structures through which environmental decision- and policy-making happen, this necessitates reflection on ontological, epistemological and ethical commitments (or ‘starting points’) as these carry material and discursive weight: they open up and foreclose ways in which resilience is practiced. Given increasing recognition that urban resilience needs to consider issues of justice and equity, in this paper we take cues from feminist and decolonial scholarship that has centered these themes for decades and which offer ‘starting points’ to rethink knowledge systems for resilience. Understanding urbanization as key process in the expansion of relations fundamental to the production of anthropocentric climate change, we argue that changing these relations is crucial if urban resilience planning is to contribute to alternative and socially just urban futures. Against tendencies of depoliticization that solutions-oriented work can sometimes exhibit, feminist and decolonial perspectives locate knowledge-making practices squarely within struggles for social justice in the city. We propose three strategies for those working on knowledge systems for resilience to advance their practice: centering justice and transgression, reflexive research practice, and thinking historically. Ultimately, this paper shows that taking seriously critical social sciences furthers fundamentally new ideas for what transitions to urban resilience could mean.

Keywords: urban planning, climate change, decolonial theory, feminist theory, knowledge systems

Topics: Coloniality/Post-Coloniality, Environment, Climate Change, Feminisms, Governance, Infrastructure, Urban Planning, Justice

Year: 2019

Militarized Modernity and Gendered Citizenship in South Korea

Citation:

Moon, Seungsook. 2005. Militarized Modernity and Gendered Citizenship in South Korea. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

Author: Seungsook Moon

Annotation:

This pathbreaking study presents a feminist analysis of the politics of membership in the South Korean nation over the past four decades. Seungsook Moon examines the ambitious effort by which South Korea transformed itself into a modern industrial and militarized nation. She demonstrates that the pursuit of modernity in South Korea involved the construction of the anticommunist national identity and a massive effort to mold the populace into useful, docile members of the state. This process, which she terms “militarized modernity,” treated men and women differently. Men were mobilized for mandatory military service and then, as conscripts, utilized as workers and researchers in the industrializing economy. Women were consigned to lesser factory jobs, and their roles as members of the modern nation were defined largely in terms of biological reproduction and household management.
Moon situates militarized modernity in the historical context of colonialism and nationalism in the twentieth century. She follows the course of militarized modernity in South Korea from its development in the early 1960s through its peak in the 1970s and its decline after rule by military dictatorship ceased in 1987. She highlights the crucial role of the Cold War in South Korea’s militarization and the continuities in the disciplinary tactics used by the Japanese colonial rulers and the postcolonial military regimes. Moon reveals how, in the years since 1987, various social movements—particularly the women’s and labor movements—began the still-ongoing process of revitalizing South Korean civil society and forging citizenship as a new form of membership in the democratizing nation. (Summary from Duke University Press)

Topics: Citizenship, Coloniality/Post-Coloniality, Gender, Femininity/ies, Masculinity/ies, Governance, Post-Conflict Governance, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militarization, Nationalism Regions: Asia, East Asia Countries: South Korea

Year: 2005

Interrogating the Constructions of Masculinist Protection and Militarism in the Syrian Constitution of 1973

Citation:

Aldoughli, Rahaf. 2019. "Interrogating the Constructions of Masculinist Protection and Militarism in the Syrian Constitution of 1973." Journal of Middle East Women's Studies 15 (1): 48-74.

Author: Rahaf Aldoughli

Abstract:

This is a revisionist study of Syrian Baʾathism. At its heart is an examination of ingrained masculinist bias. This article argues that there is a reciprocal relationship between militarism and masculinity, achieved through gratifying protection for both the nation and women. While most feminist scholarship dealing with states formation in the Arab context attributes its gendered nature to dictatorship, patriarchy, and religion, there is no debate about the development of states and their relation to militarism and masculinism. This construction of militarized masculinity in Baʾath ideology ensures the preservation of gendered laws that perceive women as less equal. While teasing out this aspect, this study seeks to explore the status of women in the Syrian Constitution (1973) and laws by investigating the role of the state as a male protector in which women’s rights become challenged by the state’s paternalistic perceptions.

Keywords: militarism, masculinist protection, women, Syria, constitutions

Topics: Gender, Masculinity/ies, Gendered Power Relations, Masculinism, Governance, Constitutions, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militarism Regions: MENA, Asia, Middle East Countries: Syria

Year: 2019

When Subterranean Slavery Supports Sustainability Transitions? Power, Patriarchy, and Child Labor in Artisanal Congolese Cobalt Mining

Citation:

Sovacool, Benjamin K. 2021. “When Subterranean Slavery Supports Sustainability Transitions? Power, Patriarchy, and Child Labor in Artisanal Congolese Cobalt Mining.” The Extractive Industries and Society 8 (1): 271–93.

Author: Benjamin K. Sovacool

Abstract:

Through the critical lenses of “modern slavery,” “dispossession,” and “gendering,” this study examines the contours of power, patriarchy, and child labor in the artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) of cobalt in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). There, a veritable mining boom for cobalt is underway, driven by rising global demand for batteries and other modern digital devices needed for future sustainability transitions. Based on extensive and original field research in the DRC—including 23 semi-structured expert interviews with a purposive sample, 48 semi-structured community interviews with ASM miners, traders, and community mem­ bers, and site visits to 17 artisanal mines, processing centers, and trading depots—this study asks: What power relations does ASM cobalt mining embed? What are its effects on patriarchy and gender relations? Critically, what is the extent and severity of child labor? It documents the exploitation of ASM miners by the government, the police, and even at times other mining actors such as traders or local communities. It reveals the often invisible gendered nature of mining, showing how many vulnerabilities—in terms of work, status, social norms, and sexual abuse and prostitution—fall disproportionately on women and girls. It lastly reveals sobering patterns of child labor and abuse, again at times by the government or police, but other times by families or mining communities themselves. These factors can at times make cobalt mining a modern form of slavery and a catalyst for social, economic, and even regional dispossession. However, rather than despair, the study also draws from its empirical data to showcase how mining can in selected situations empower. It also proposes a concerted mix of policy reforms aimed the Congolese government (at all scales, including local and national); suppliers and enduser companies for cobalt; and international governments and trading bodies. In doing so, the study humanizes the plight of Congolese cobalt artisanal miners, reveals the power relations associated with the recent mining boom, and also proposes pathways for positive change.

Keywords: artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM), Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Copper, Cobalt, modern slavery, disposession

Topics: Economies, Extractive Industries, Gender, Girls, Women, Gendered Power Relations, Patriarchy, Governance, Multi-National Corporations, Sexual Violence Regions: Africa, Central Africa Countries: Democratic Republic of the Congo

Year: 2021

Effects of the Government’s Ban in Ghana on Women in Artisanal and Small-Scale Gold Mining

Citation:

Zolnikov, Tara Rava. 2020. “Effects of the Government’s Ban in Ghana on Women in Artisanal and Small-Scale Gold Mining.” Resources Policy 65 (March). https://doi.org/10.1016/j.resourpol.2019.101561. 

Author: Tara Rava Zolnikov

Abstract:

Artisanal and small-scale gold mining operations have been conducted in Ghana for centuries. Over time, technological advances in the industry occurred and miners separated from large-scale mining and applied this knowledge to small-scale or individual mining practices. In March 2017, the government responded to a media campaign against environmental degradation and placed a ban against water pollution; this ban affected all informal gold mining operations because of the chronic use of mercury in gold extraction, which contributes to water contamination. The unintended consequences of this ban were that approximately 1 million people lost their jobs. A qualitative study was conducted to understand how small-scale gold mining affected female miners and in turn, the implications of the ban on these women and their families. There were 21 illegal female miners interviewed in Akwatia, Ghana. The results from this study confirmed that many female miners used their mining money to support their families. Because the ban blocked mining employment opportunities, the women were forced into unreliable and low-paying alternative jobs and were unable to pay for school fees and food. Unfortunately, while the ban may have improved the environment, it also contributed to adverse outcomes related to women and children's development, like inadequate nutritional needs and school dropout rates; thus, bans like this need to be reconsidered and readapted to address these immeasurable consequences.

Topics: Environment, Extractive Industries, Gender, Women, Governance, Livelihoods Regions: Africa, West Africa Countries: Ghana

Year: 2020

Land Resources Management in Southeast Asia: Redefining the Role of Women as Land Managers

Citation:

Pradipta, Lengga. 2020. “Land Resources Management in Southeast Asia: Redefining the Role of Women as Land Managers.” Komunitas: International Journal of Indonesian Society and Culture 12 (2): 206-16.

Author: Lengga Pradipta

Abstract:

The global trend to transform land management responsibility from the state to ‘communities’ or local user groups has neglected the implications of intra-community power differences for the effectiveness and equity of land management. Despite the rhetoric about gender equality that has mushroomed in recent years, a review of evidence from several countries in Southeast Asia, such as Malaysia, Indonesia and Vietnam, has shown that female participation is very minimal in land management. One basic reason for this is the formal and informal institutional exclusion of women. Moreover, the bargaining power of women within households and communities is categorized as ‘lip-service’ because patriarchy is seen as bonded to culture or tradition. Further detailed and comparative research is required to identify and analyze the major factors that affect women’s access and control over land resources, especially regarding how culture and local wisdom can accommodate this issue and ensure the participation of women in the management of resources.

Keywords: land resources management, patriarchy, women

Topics: Agriculture, Gender, Women, Gender Equality/Inequality, Patriarchy, Governance, Indigenous, Land Tenure, Rights, Land Rights Regions: Asia, Southeast Asia Countries: Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam

Year: 2020

Communal Land Tenure Security for Widows in the Eenhana Constituency of the Ohangwena Region, Namibia

Citation:

Nakanyete, Ndapwea F., Romie V. Nghitevelekwa, Mark M. Matsa, John Mendelsohn, Selma Lendelvo, and Fanuel Shikale. 2020. “Communal Land Tenure Security for Widows in the Eenhana Constituency of the Ohangwena Region, Namibia.” Journal of International Women's Studies 21 (1): 131–47.

Authors: Ndapewa Fenny Nakanyete, Romie Vonkie Nghitevelekwa, Mark M. Matsa, John Mendelsohn, Selma Lendelvo, Fanuel Shikale

Abstract:

Namibia is characterized by a history of discriminatory customary practices against women with regards to access to land, rights over land, and security of land tenure. Since independence in 1990, the country has adopted policies and legislative frameworks to bring about gender equality in all spheres of life, including the transformation of land tenure rights. These policies and acts give effect to the constitutional provisions that accord both men and women equal opportunities for access to land, rights over land and security of tenure. Widows are a particularly singled-out social group for legal protection, land security and rights to land enjoyed during their spouses’ lifetimes, and are granted protection, at least on paper, from discriminatory practices such as unlawful land evictions. This article evaluates and analyses the current status of land tenure security for widows in the Eenhana Constituency of the Ohangwena Region in Namibia. The study employed both quantitative and qualitative methods through questionnaires, interviews and focus group discussions with widows, as well as key informant interviews with Communal Land Board representatives, members of the traditional authorities, as well as the Ministry of Land Reform’s regional office officials. Through this case study, the findings establish that even though Namibia acclaims progressive policies and legislative frameworks on gender equality, there are still pockets of discrimination against widows where they continue to be at risk of losing their land rights in some of Namibia’s communal areas. Addressing the land tenure insecurities and a guarantee of legal land rights for widows is key to reducing vulnerabilities within female-headed households in the communal areas. Traditional authorities remain a key governance structure in communal areas, particularly in relation to access to land, and land rights inheritance issues, amongst others. Similarly, the Communal Land Boards are statutory institutions mandated to ensure implementation of the provisions of the Communal Land Reform Act of 2002, including the protection of land rights for widows. The study therefore recommends three main measures: the removal of all forms of discriminatory customary practices against widows; continued awareness-raising initiatives on the rights of widows; and full implementation of legal provisions for the protection of widows’ land rights and security of tenure.

Keywords: widows, communal land, security, land tenure, land rights, inheritance, rural area, Namibia

Topics: Gender, Women, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Governance, Post-Conflict Governance, Intersectionality, Land Tenure, Rights, Land Rights, Security Regions: Africa, Southern Africa Countries: Namibia

Year: 2020

Absent Voices: Women and Youth in Communal Land Governance. Reflections on Methods and Process from Exploratory Research in West and East Africa

Citation:

Lemke, Stefanie and Priscilla Claeys. 2020. "Absent Voices: Women and Youth in Communal Land Governance. Reflections on Methods and Process from Exploratory Research in West and East Africa." Land 9 (8): 266- 66. 

Authors: Stefanie Lemke , Priscilla Claeys

Abstract:

An increasing number of African States are recognizing customary land tenure. Yet, there is a lack of research on how community rights are recognized in legal and policy frameworks, how they are implemented in practice, and how to include marginalized groups. In 2018–2019, we engaged in collaborative exploratory research on governing natural resources for food sovereignty with social movement networks, human rights lawyers and academics in West and East Africa. In this article, we reflect on the process and methods applied to identify research gaps and partners (i.e., two field visits and regional participatory workshops in Mali and Uganda), with a view to share lessons learned. In current debates on the recognition and protection of collective rights to land and resources, we found there is a need for more clarity and documentation, with customary land being privatized and norms rapidly changing. Further, the voices of women and youth are lacking in communal land governance. This process led to collaborative research with peasant and pastoralist organizations in Kenya, Tanzania, Mali and Guinea, with the aim to achieve greater self-determination and participation of women and youth in communal land governance, through capacity building, participatory research, horizontal dialogues and action for social change.

Keywords: gender, women and youth, communal land governance, right to land, collective rights, Participatory Action Research, transdisciplinary approach, COVID-19, West and East Africa, constituencies

Topics: Age, Youth, Gender, Gendered Discourses, Women, Governance, Land Tenure, Rights, Land Rights Regions: Africa, East Africa, West Africa Countries: Guinea, Kenya, Mali, Tanzania, Uganda

Year: 2020

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