Restructuring gender inequality in the crisis

Presenter/s: Professor Sylvia Walby, Lancaster University

Event type: Lecture

Event date: Tuesday, 8 November 2016 - 4:30pm to 6:00pm

Event venue: Lecture Theatre 1, Hedley Bull Building (130), ANU

How is the crisis restructuring gender inequality? The complex inequalities on which the financial crisis draws, and which the development of global finance exacerbates, intersect in diverse ways. The paper argues for a gendered conceptualisation of the crisis, not as ‘refamilialisation’ in which women are pushed out of production back into reproduction, but rather as a critical turning point in the trajectory of the public gender regime from a more social democratic form to a more neoliberal form. It analyses the varied gendered practices and institutions relevant to the different stages of the crisis as it cascaded from finance through the economy, the fiscal, the political and to violence. What constitutes the ‘crisis’ is contested. The construction of government deficits as if they entailed fiscal crisis to be treated as a state of exception is contested. The cascading of crisis from one institutional domain to another is also contested, since renewed democratic forces provide sites of resilience and resistance. The significance of feminism within the democratic struggle at each of the institutions affected by the crisis is often underestimated. This requires rethinking the understanding of ‘gender equality’ in the context of intersecting political projects. The theorisation of crisis is developed using complexity science, gender theory, and a reworking of the concept of social system, with implications for the theorisation of gendered institutions and gender regimes.

Sylvia Walby OBE is Distinguished Professor of Sociology, UNESCO Chair of Gender Research, and Director of the Violence and Society UNESCO Centre at Lancaster University. She is a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences, UK. Sylvia’s books include: Crisis (Polity 2015); The Future of Feminism (Polity 2011); and Globalization and Inequalities: Complexity and Contested Modernities (Sage 2009).

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This keynote lecture is part of the Gendered Innovations in the Social Sciences conference (7 - 9 November). One day or full conference registration is available.

This event is supported by the ANU Gender Institute.

Image credit: Turbulence, 2013 Nicholas D, Flickr



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