POLITICS AND FEMINISM
Research on politics, political activities and power relations of various kinds have for long been central to feminist research. Understandings of what politics is, how it works and where it takes place have never been static or unified across academic communities engaging with the study of politics, be that political science itself, the many sub-disciplines studying politics (e.g. political geography, political history, political sociology), or the growing number of interdisciplinary studies of politics and the political. Since the late 1960s, many and diverse feminist and pro-feminist movements within and outside Academia have been actively contributing to this large, heterogeneous and contested research field. Questions and answers about the nature of politics and the political have been much on the move and, since the 1980s, in a certain direction. As compared with various, old and new modes of linking, some even reducing politics to economic matters, the debates about modernity/postmodernity and the many turns (linguistic, cultural and others) issued in these debates, conceptions of politics and the political rooted in philosophy and/or cultural theory now stand out strongly. In gender studies and feminist theory, the move towards philosophical and cultural approaches to studying politics is rather strong. At the same time a relative under-attention to political institutions, even a turn away from empirically oriented political theories and analytical frameworks aimed to investigate institutionalized power and political processes that constitute multi-level state-society relationships (political systems), can be noted.
Current scholarly debates about politics and the political should be seen in relation to many interlocking, conflicted processes of ongoing, global and local social changes, such as: more or less dramatic political system shifts (from the 1980s onwards); structural changes, tensions, and crises in the world economy; intensified conflicts over and politicization of sexuality, love and all kinds of biopower; and heightened political temperature in many cultural activities and discursive movements in the world of ideas and ideals, symbols and values. In all of these domains of social life, various forms of ongoing power struggles, through collective activities, social movements and interest articulation, can be seen throughout the world.
The objective of this field is to promote an inclusive view of feminist research interests in the study of politics; of the many sites and forms of political power, of policy-making and policy implementation in political systems and the various forms taken by activities and struggles aiming for realizing gender equality and other feminist values.