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Feminism during social and political repression in Egypt: making or breaking resistance through legal activism
Lund University. Faculties of Humanities and Theology.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-9200-7888
2018 (English)In: Gender in Human Rights and Transitional Justice / [ed] John Idriss Lahai & Khanyisela Moyo, Palgrave Macmillan, 2018, Vol. S. 17-43, p. 17-43Chapter in book (Refereed)
Sustainable development
SDG 5: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls
Abstract [en]

Scholarly work on feminists’ use of law reveals a complex reality where social and political domains, practices, and institutions are at play. Law as an instrument for improving gender justice is also the arena where obstacles to achieving greater gender equality remain (Cornwall & Molyneux, Third World Quarterly, 27(7), 1175–1191, 2006). Feminist scholars have debated law’s role within feminist activism concerning questions of identity politics, conditioned citizenships, and the state’s role. In recent years, influential feminists have criticized the role of law in feminist projects and argued that feminists should shift focus from the identity project (Hekman, Feminist Theory, 1(3), 289–308, 2000; Lloyd, Beyond identity politics: Feminism, power & politics. SAGE, London, 2005; Zerilli, Feminism and the abyss of freedom. University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 2005) and legal activism (Brown, States of injury: Power and freedom in late modernity. Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJ, 1995; Brown & Halley, Left legalism/left critique. Duke University Press, Durham, 2002; Butler, Gender trouble: Feminism and the subversion of identity. Routledge, New York, 2006; Halley, Split decisions: How and why to take a break from feminism. Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJ, 2006) to other forms of activism outside of state institutions and the legal apparatus. Their claim is that as law is not a neutral instrument, legal activism has a cost to other projects for political change. While these ideas could be argued to be relevant only in the context of liberal democracies, theories of law, rights, and legal activism should also be applicable to the idea of human rights and human rights activism, which are pressing issues in non-democratic societies where human rights abuses are common. How, then, does this critique of feminist legal activism play out in repressive states and less-open societies where the public space is strictly regulated and controlled? Can the relationship between law and politics be asserted in the same way in all different societies or does legal activism have different outcomes depending on the political context? These questions are explored in this chapter by drawing from fieldwork and interviews with Egyptian feminist activists and their struggle for political and social change.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Palgrave Macmillan, 2018. Vol. S. 17-43, p. 17-43
Series
Crossing Boundaries of Gender and Politics in the Global South, ISSN 2946-4854, E-ISSN 2946-4862
Keywords [en]
Political activities -- resistance -- Egypt -- 20th century -- 21st century, Judicial system -- laws, Feminism, Equality, Human Rights
National Category
Political Science Gender Studies
Research subject
Human Rights
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:ths:diva-2101DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-54202-7_2OAI: oai:DiVA.org:ths-2101DiVA, id: diva2:1820648
Available from: 2023-12-18 Created: 2023-12-18 Last updated: 2023-12-18Bibliographically approved

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Sundkvist, Emma

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