Accepted paper:

"Changing from Within": Feminism and Bureaucratic Practice

Authors:

Berna Ekal (Istanbul Altinbas University)

Paper short abstract:

With a focus on the cases of Sweden and Turkey, this paper addresses the position of "being a civil society person/feminist" within the state, which implies seeing a possibility for "changing from within", yet at the same time criticizing given policies that are supposed to make a change.

Paper long abstract:

The relationship between feminist movements and states has usually been considered as an ambiguous one, if not considered as a "betrayal" of feminist cause. Taking the risk of generalization, we can say that feminists are eventually required to step away from their engagement with the state, requiring legal reforms etc., and instead question heteronormative model of society. Obviously, in this framework, besides the fact that feminist groups who work closely with the state are not that much appreciated, feminism and bureaucratic practice are considered as mutually exclusive categories. In this sense, in its most simple way to put it, such a theoretical framework leaves no ground for accounting for gender equality mechanisms in bureaucratic practice other than leaving them suspect, and no ground for understanding the position of civil servants who deal with gender equality in general. This paper seeks to address this latter question, with a focus on the cases of Sweden and Turkey, through the experiences of feminist civil servants: "being a civil society person / feminist" within the state, which implies seeing a possibility for "changing from within" (even though it is hard to realize), yet at the same time criticizing given policies that are supposed to make a change.

panel P079
Politicized bureaucrats in and beyond Europe: conflicting loyalties, professionalism and the law in the making of public services [LAWNET]