TitleYouth movements, autonomy and the oppositional identity in global women's activism
NameHunt, Theresa Ann (author), Josephson, Jyl (chair), Schock, Kurt (internal member), Regulska, Joanna (outside member), Maier, Sylvia (outside member), Rutgers University, Graduate School - Newark,
Women human rights workers
DescriptionWhile literature examining the significance of age and generation in transnational social movements continues to grow, few studies focus specifically on young women and their involvement with global feminism. Making the empirical observation that “young women‟s” transnational feminist networks have emerged and gained more visibility in the last decade, this dissertation investigates their existence, asking why young women identifying as part of a “transnational feminist class” form youth-only networks rather than joining – or maintaining membership within – existing and established networks. Data was collected from five young women‟s transnational feminist networks using qualitative methods, including semi-structured interview, participant observation and triangulated digital writing analysis. Analysis of this data yielded several findings. First, young women are likely to form “youth-only” feminist networks in three circumstances: 1) when they feel under- and misrepresented within the discursive and political forums of global feminism; 2) when they feel the education they need to further their goals and establish their identities as activists is inadequate; and 3) when they find generation gaps create perceived irreconcilable “differences” of tactical and organizational preference between older and younger activists. Second, young feminists foreground age as an identity marker quite consciously in order to supersede other “differences” historically dividing transnational women‟s organizing, such as those of nationality, religion, sexuality and social class. These patterns suggest young women are deploying “essentialist” and collective movement identities strategically, and thus construct a praxis reflective of established but contentious feminist theoretical discussions such as Gayatri Spivak‟s “strategic essentialism” (1990), Nancy Fraser‟s “subaltern counterpublic”(1990) and Rita Felski‟s “self-consciously oppositional identity” (1989) . The three main chapters of this dissertation examine 1) the creation and articulation of a “young transnational feminist” counterpublic sphere; 2) the discourse of “difference” permeating young women‟s transnational feminist networks; and 3) the effort to construct more “democratic”, “inclusive” and “self-directed” educational programs for young feminist activists. I conclude with the observation that young activist women within the transnational feminist movement draw on but re-conceptualize existing theories of globalization, social movements and transnational feminist activism, and offer suggestions for the ways in which scholars might be more inclusive of young women‟s practices and preferences in future studies of transnational activism.
NoteIncludes bibliographical references
Noteby Theresa Ann Hunt
CollectionGraduate School - Newark Electronic Theses and Dissertations
Organization NameRutgers, The State University of New Jersey
RightsThe author owns the copyright to this work.