123.3 The gender of the “new citizenship”: The mulheres da paz (Peace Women) program

Wednesday, August 1, 2012: 1:06 PM
Faculty of Economics, TBA
Oral Presentation
Carla GOMES , Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Bila SORJ , Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Since 1990, the revaluation of social policies, especially those which seek to reduce poverty and social vulnerability, led to the emergence of a new institutional paradigm of policy, diversely named. Direct control by the state of policy implementation gives rise to different forms of division of responsibilities with NGOs, churches, communities and individual beneficiaries. Notions such as the development of "human capital" or "capabilities" of the beneficiaries are considered essential tools for the new model of citizenship to be activated, founded on the values of co-responsibility and independence from the market and from the social programs themselves.

Doubtless, each local reality sets specific outlines to this emerging standard. In Brazil this type of policy is increasingly imposing itself and it is remarkable the strategic centrality assigned to women in its implementation, either as the preferred antipoverty programs’ customers, as in income transfer programs, or as operators at the local level of government programs for the population considered most vulnerable. Taking the Mulheres da Paz program (Peace Women) as empirical reference, the objective of this paper is to discuss the tensions generated in the design and implementation of this model of social policy, in that the number and variety of political actors involved and in dispute are significantly expanded.

The Peace Women work in "vulnerable areas" aiming to prevent the entry of young people in crime. As we will argue, the program expresses the tense coexistence between different discourses and practices, which simultaneously mobilize maternalist notions and assumptions associated with femininity, put in the service of the goals of social policy, and new concepts of "active citizenship" that are based in the idea of investing in the subjects as individuals and promoting the autonomy and self-development, the so-called empowerment.