Feminist Anti-Violence Activism in Austerity Britain: A North East of England Case Study

Wiper, Clare (2018) Feminist Anti-Violence Activism in Austerity Britain: A North East of England Case Study. Doctoral thesis, Northumbria University.

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Feminist scholars in the global North have become increasingly vocal about the material implications of austerity for women’s lived experiences of violence and inequality, and they have highlighted the challenges facing organisations attempting to respond to the recent eruption of violence against women and girls (VAWG) with fewer resources than were available in previous decades. However, much less time has been spent trying to understand the lived contours of the neoliberal financial crisis for anti-VAWG activists at the local level or its impact on their political mobilisations and efforts for social change and social justice. In particular, there has been very little consideration of how the financial crisis and its ideology of austerity is changing the ways anti-VAWG activists feel and think about the structural landscape of VAWG and the possibilities and limitations of their activism in these changing times.

Situating austerity within the global ascendance of neoliberal policies and discourses, this thesis examines how anti-VAWG activists in North East England are conceptualising and responding to this environment, with a focus on the political imaginaries, agendas, strategies and discourses emerging under these conditions. Drawing on intersectional readings of data obtained from 28 semi-structured interviews and participant observations at women’s sector meetings and activist events, this research reveals the double-sided effects of neoliberal structural adjustment and dispossession in austerity Britain. In many ways, anti-VAWG activists are experiencing acute processes of depoliticisation and polarisation as feminist agendas for social change are derailed by neoliberal economic reforms. Yet this context has also presented opportunities for anti-VAWG activists to develop new forms of collective struggle against the violence of austerity politics. The thesis argues that, as the poorest and most vulnerable women continue to bear the brunt of austerity, anti-VAWG activists are reimagining new, potentially radically transformative ways of challenging this structural and state-sanctioned violence.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Uncontrolled Keywords: violence against women, neoliberalism, gender inequality, intersectionality, domestic violence movement
Subjects: L400 Social Policy
L900 Others in Social studies
Department: Faculties > Arts, Design and Social Sciences > Social Sciences
University Services > Graduate School > Doctor of Philosophy
Depositing User: Paul Burns
Date Deposited: 20 Jun 2019 17:13
Last Modified: 16 Sep 2022 08:01
URI: https://nrl.northumbria.ac.uk/id/eprint/39764

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