Critical-Creative Methods of Feminist Protest: (re) Embodying and Assembling Social Protest

Thursday, 19 July 2018: 18:00
Oral Presentation
Begonya ENGUIX, Universitat Oberta de Catalunya, Spain
Feminist critique and epistemologies (Irigaray, Braidotti, Haraway, Hayles, Grosz et al.) have situated the body at the center of the critique to dual, binary, dichotomic and essentialist gender and sexual models, and have connected these models to social inequality, hierarchy, and violence. Deleuzian epistemologies such as posthumanism stress the importance of thinking through 'assemblages' and relations, instead of essences and facts.

In this proposal, I mean to think about the (dis) connections between feminism and other claims for social justice among leftist activists in Spain. For some of these groups, ideologies, genders and bodies are closely bond. However, for others, equally situated in the left, feminism is not an issue at stake. The movements that have a clear gender awareness and define themselves as clearly feminist (and anticapitalist, ecologist, queer, etc.) situate the 'body', 'our bodies', as a 'battlefield'. This fact clearly distinguishes these groups from other groups, creates a continuity with the social movements of the 60-70s that made of bodies an element of and for 'political' claim, and has consequences for the political tactics and the social visibility of these groups. The feminist claim of one's body, of the control over one's body and the defeat of all kinds of exclusion or discrimination based on the sex/gender system is a key distinguishing feature of these groups.

This proposal is based on an ethnographic analysis of LGBT activism in Spain and on an ethnographic analysis of radical leftist political groups in Catalonia. The division between an assimilationist LGTB activism and a 'radical' LGTBIQ activism relies, among other elements, on the explicit importance of feminism and bodies for radical activist claims and their absence from assimilationist claims. Catalan independentist groups such as Arran and Endavant have made of feminism, gender and bodies a core element in/for their (political) claims.