Conference Agenda

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Session Overview
RN33_05b_H: Gender, Politics and Power
Thursday, 31/Aug/2017:
11:00am - 12:30pm

Session Chair: Sorana-Alexandra Constantinescu, Babes-Bolyai University
Session Chair: Dilek Cindoglu, Abdullah Gul University
Location: HB.1.15
HAROKOPIO University 70 El. Venizelou Street 17671 Athens, Greece Building: B, Level: 1.

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Changing gender orders in European welfare states

Ilse Lenz

Ruhr-University Bochum, Germany

The paper will argue that presently the gender order in European welfare states is moving towards a flexibilised gender order. Main actors driving this transformation are global capitalism with its increasing economisation and flexibilisation of workforces, gender movements mobilising for equality and diversity of gender and political actors in the global multilevel system.

According to Raewyn Connell, modern gender orders are constituted by core structures and institutions organising gender relations: gendered power relations, and divisions of labour, hegemonial norming of sexuality and bodies. Birgit Pfau-Effinger emphasized the meaning of the gender culture in legitimating the gender order.

Using comparative empirical evidence, I will argue that in European welfare states, the division of labour in paid work and employment has been flexibilised (and precarised) and that gender power relationships have changed with autochthonous higher class women gaining voices. I will follow an intersectional approach looking at gender, class, migration and desire. Gender has become a reflexive category and gender culture is shifting from gender dualism to diversity. These trends suggest the emergence of a flexible gender order which is based on a pluralisation of gender and flexibilised gendered employment and life forms, as various forms of sexuality.

I will show, however, that the different gender welfare regimes are shaping the varying trajectories and forms of the emerging flexible order. In socialdemocratic regimes, equality norms and regulations are visible whereas in liberal and conservative regimes, employment flexibilisation and precarisation of diverse groups of men and women have increased rapidly.

Feminist and LGBT movements in Slovenia in the context of anti-gender campaigns

Milica Antić Gaber1, Roman Kuhar2

1University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Arts, Slovenia; 2University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Arts, Slovenia

The struggles over marriage equality in Slovenia (started in the early nineties, intensified in 2000s') have recently became a catalyist for an organized and increasingly powerful anti-gender movement, which targets issues beyond marriage equality; reproductive rights, sexual education, gender equality are all being questioned. Moreover conservative opposition to equal rights for gays and lesbians, in the recent years developed into an organized (transnational) movement, extensivly supported by the Catholic Church. In 2016 Slovene oponents to same-sex marriages turned into a new political party with a program (an interesting mixture of socialist, liberal and conservative ideas), gathered under the umbrella of anti-elitism and populism. All these creates a new political context in which the process of what used to be an increasing (and unquestioned) progress in gender equality is again questioned and possibly reversed. All these have created tensions and redefined relations not only between proponents and opponents of marriage equality (feminist and LGBT movements included), but also among them.

In this paper we will take a look at how these new contexts shape and inform policies produced and proposed by feminist, LGBT and anti-gender movements in Slovenia. Using critical frame analysis of policy documents produced during and after the above mentioned debate we will show how diversification of the movements influence the re-definitions of the basic orientations of these movements, their inter-connectedness, solidarity and effectiveness of their activities. We will conclude our paper with the findings about new directions and questions that all these complex relationship brings to the forefront of all these organizations and what are the consequences for the basic feminist orientations on the concepts of gender dichotomy, heteronormativity and gender order as such.

“The Invisible Wombs of the Market: Waged and Unwaged Reproductive Labour under Capitalism

sigrid vertommen

king's college london (from may 2017), ghent university, belgium (until may 2017)

Since the reconfiguration of the capitalist world economy in the late seventies, the reproductive labours involved in care, nurturance and pleasure have increasingly been commodified and a global army of female workers including nannies, cleaners, surrogates and sex workers has developed in both the global North and South.

Recent social scientific and feminist scholarship has therefore focused its attention to studying the immorality and exploitation behind the supposedly "new" sexual division of labour, with its exuberant marketization of bodies, intimacies and sexualities, while downplaying or even ignoring the structural inequalities of power (race, class, sex, gender) that underpin the unwaged forms of reproductive, affective and emotional labour, such as in sex, childbirth and housework.

In this presentation we would like to suggest that a feminist Marxist understanding of capitalist social relations requires a combined attention to and organisation of both forms of labour - namely, waged and unwaged reproductive labour. Through a critical analysis of recent debates on altruistic (unwaged) versus commercial (waged) surrogacy, we posit a feminist Marxist account of the politics of motherhood, care and reproduction that transcends false dichotomies of waged-unwaged labour, gift-commodity, nature-social, market-non market.

The priorities of women's rights in Iran

Pardis Asadi Zeidabadi

Newcastle University, United Kingdom

While there are some researches detailing Islamic and secular feminist in Iran, there is hardly any research focusing on how women activists including secular, reformists and conservative women prioritise women’s rights in the contemporary Iran. Here I describe respondents’ views on how and why different types of women activists prioritise some women’s rights in Iran and goes to discuss their views about the ways in which they justify their priorities. My discussion is divided into three major sections. Firstly, I will examine why and how secular women activists and some reformists believe in equality between men and women and give priority to some rights such as testimony, polygamy, employment and age of marriage for women. On the other hand, I will discuss why at the same time these laws are neglected for other women activists. Secondly, I will explore why and how some reformist and conservative women activists emphasis on participation of women in political arena, and also I will explain why other participants fail to highlight this right. Thirdly, I will examine how and why, despite the importance of some laws such as the right of divorce, wearing hijab and women’s rights in different ethnicities, the majority of women who were interviewed does not prioritise these.

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