11th Apr, 2018
CFP for new issue of Theoretical Practice Journal (Praktyka Teoretyczna):
BLACK PROTESTS AND BEYOND: WOMEN'S SOCIAL MOVEMENTS AND THE CHALLENGES FOR FEMINISM IN CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE
Abstract submission deadline: May 15 2018
Article submission deadline: September 15 2018
Since 2016 Central and Eastern Europe has been witnessing an unprecedented wave of feminist protests. Attacks on reproductive rights have galvanised public opinion and brought thousands of people into the streets. Around these protests an effective platform countering right-wing and highly patriarchal governments has started to form. Recent women's mobilisations are not restricted exclusively to the region, as feminist protests have occurred in other parts of the world as well. Over the past several months, we have witnessed the emergence of the global #metoo movement, Women's Marches in the USA, and the anti-violence Latin American protest actions organised by NiUnaMenos, to name only a few. However, the specificity of Central Eastern European mobilisations requires a closer look, as they are strongly connected to the recent political changes that have occurred in several countries in the region.
One of the largest mobilisations in recent times, the Polish Black Protest and the All-Poland Women's Strike, can be seen as part of the women's protests taking place around the world. Yet, their social and political dynamics, as well as their theoretical implications, have not only been inadequately analysed, but also the most pivotal problems they raise, despite having been prominent in the feminist agenda for decades, are still unresolved.
The impact and strength of this new type of mobilisation, which can be seen as the most recent face of new social movements (Melucci 1980), definitely says something (new) about the current need for feminism. The layers and levels of discrimination – institutionalised misogyny in the form of attempts to restrict women's reproductive rights and the great scope of sexual harassment in every sphere of social life revealed by #metoo action, understood as a new form of social mobilisation – show the urgent need for action. Indeed, recent mobilisations have bought new type of actions with them.
We claim that the particular novelty of recent mobilisations concerns the action, which has taken place in new contexts, in political, economic and cultural terms, in the post-crisis social landscapes marked by austerity measures. The new populist governments, which combine a pronatalist approach and the objectification of women with a certain investment in social welfare, serve as a different kind of opposition to what was known before, that is, neoliberal governments that avoided all debate on reproductive rights and refused to make social expenditure a priority.
The unprecedented wave of women's protests raises new questions for feminism, both for its theoretical investigations and for political practice. The Black Protest in Poland on 3 October 2016 took the form of a strike. A strike is a refusal of work – but what kind of work was being refused in this case? And what does this kind of work mean for our understanding of the division of production and reproduction? What sorts of consequences for working life arises with the protests around reproductive rights?
The main scope of this Special Issue is to shed the light on the specificity of recent women's mobilisations in Central Eastern European countries, framed as a new form of women's social movement. We are interested in the analysis of certain types of protest and movements, as seen from local, national and transnational perspectives. Moreover, we welcome analyses of the interconnections between new forms of women's protest and neoliberalism, interconnections that can serve as a form of legitimisation of the latter as well as attempts to rally against its ideology. The aim of this Special Issue is the examine the variety of forms of contemporary mobilisations, in all their social, political and theoretical implications. Hence, we would especially welcome papers addressing the following points:
- The strategies of social movements: the organizational model of these protests and what is novel about them in terms of strategies of mobilisation, patterns of leadership, alliances and narration, and institutionalization;
- The place of social class in the movement, in its narration and in its strategies. Whose voice is being foregrounded?
- The strike as a form of women's social protest;
- The new actors and patterns of mobilisation and organization (e.g. social media);
- The human geography of the women's protests – on the local, national, transnational and virtual levels – the forms of international solidarity, transnational activism and their local varieties. What interconnections, information flows, exist between them?
- The puzzle of the feminist agenda – when women's rights go mainstream, what happens to their feminist roots?
- The political and theoretical relation between the movement and contemporary feminism. Do and how they incorporate or challenge the notion of "ordinary woman"?
- The political framework of the protest – against which hegemony and oppression? How are they constructed, what kind of categories – such as patriarchy, femininity, masculinity, conservatism, capitalism – are used?
- Men and masculinities: opposition and/or support?
- The normative aspect of women's protests – what kind of world and gender relations can we expect afterwards?
- The contemporary political structure (lack of opportunities) (Kriesi 1995) and its implications for women's mobilisations;
- The theoretical and methodological implications of the new forms of women's protest.