Social Politics: International Studies in Gender State and Soci

Social Politics: International Studies in Gender, State and Society
Volume 11, Number 2, Summer 2004
Special Issue: New Contexts for Collective Action:
The Politics of Parenting, Partnering, and Participation
Guest Editor: Fiona Williams and Sasha Roseneil


Part I: Collective Interventions around Parenting and Partnering

    Dobrowolsky, Alexandra Z. (Alexandra Zorianna), 1964-
    Jenson, Jane.
  • Shifting Representations of Citizenship: Canadian Politics of "Women" and "Children"
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    Subject Headings:
    • Canada -- Social policy.
    • Child welfare -- Canada -- History -- 20th century.
    • Feminism -- Canada -- History -- 20th century.
      This article offers an analytical framework for understanding changing citizenship regimes and illustrates how recent shifts in citizenship discourses and practices have affected women in Canada. It reviews contemporary Canadian history and traces changing processes whereby representations involving women, their rights and needs, have been sidelined and replaced by those of children. It concentrates on one issue that provides a cornerstone for many women's full citizenship, economic autonomy, and well-being: that of child care. We track what has happened to this concern, along with women's claims for gender equality and recognition as child poverty becomes a major preoccupation and investing in children becomes a top priority. With the move away from a space for women's voices toward representations of the child, especially the poor child, we show how the current citizenship regime has effectively struck women's full citizenship from the political agenda.
    Roseneil, Sasha, 1966-
    Williams, Fiona.
  • Public Values of Parenting and Partnering: Voluntary Organizations and Welfare Politics in New Labour's Britain
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    Subject Headings:
    • Human services -- Great Britain -- Societies, etc.
    • Human services personnel -- Great Britain -- Attitudes.
    • Great Britain -- Social policy -- 1979-
      This article provides an analysis of the values associated with parenting and partnering, comparing those of New Labour with those of national voluntary organizations. It begins with an analysis of New Labour's policies around parenting and partnering, explaining the new salience that voluntary organizations have acquired under New Labour governance. It then draws on a qualitative study to provide an analysis of three main value discourses around welfare articulated by national voluntary organizations: welfare as care and well-being, welfare as social justice and equality, and welfare as social investment and then discusses the challenges these pose to New Labour.
    Bergman, Solveig.
  • Collective Organizing and Claim Making on Child Care in Norden: Blurring the Boundaries between the Inside and the Outside
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    Subject Headings:
    • Child care -- Government policy -- Scandinavia.
    • Work and family -- Scandinavia.
    • Feminism -- Scandinavia.
    • Sexual division of labor -- Scandinavia.
      This article relates the development of Nordic child care policies to women's collective mobilization and claim making. The impact of Nordic women's actions and organizing in the making of welfare policies is highlighted through an examination of child care and parental policy reforms in recent decades, including the issue of institutional day care versus care allowances to support the home care of children and the issue of paternal quotas in parental leave schemes. Child care policies are analyzed as an example of how the broad variety of women's wishes and needs is reflected in collective claim making and organizing. The experience from the Nordic region shows that the state and the public apparatus are important arenas for feminist strategies, negotiations, and coalition building. Women's movements and other forms of collective activism constitute important actors that can operate within and through the state. Thus the boundaries between organizing on the "inside" and the "outside" of the state are blurred.
    Gavanas, Anna, 1971-
  • Domesticating Masculinity and Masculinizing Domesticity in Contemporary U.S. Fatherhood Politics
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    Subject Headings:
    • Fatherhood -- Social aspects -- United States.
    • Masculinity -- Social aspects -- United States.
    • Sex role -- United States.
      Since the mid-1990s, the U.S. fatherhood responsibility movement has claimed that fathers have become marginalized in the family, with catastrophic societal consequences. In response to this perceived situation, the fatherhood responsibility movement seeks to reestablish the necessity of men in families, constituting fatherhood as specifically male in differentiation from the feminizing connotations of family involvement. However, by masculinizing fatherhood, proponents of responsible fatherhood engage a century-long dilemma at the heart of constructing particularly male versions of parenthood: How do you masculinize domesticity and at the same time domesticate masculinity? The fatherhood responsibility movement deals with this dilemma by converging on three long-standing and overlapping arenas for masculinization: heterosexuality, sport, and religion.

Part II: Public Participation, Politics, and Policy in New Labour's Britain

    Barnes, Marian.
    Newman, Janet.
    Sullivan, Helen (Helen C.)
  • Power, Participation, and Political Renewal: Theoretical Perspectives on Public Participation under New Labour in Britain
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    Subject Headings:
    • Political participation -- Great Britain.
    • Social movements -- Great Britain.
    • Social networks -- Political aspects -- Great Britain.
      This article discusses the contribution of a study of public participation in two English cities to the theorization of the relationship between policy context and local action, the conceptualization of "publics" who get involved, and the micropolitics of deliberation within participative forums. It addresses these issues within the particular context provided by the discourses of the New Labour government in the United Kingdom but relates this to broader theorization of the way institutional rules and norms shape access, agenda setting, and modes of deliberation, of the mobilization of collective action within social movements, and of the relationship between styles of exchange and the legitimation of contributions to a process of citizen/official dialogue.
    Roberts, John M. (John Michael)
    Devine, Fiona.
  • Some Everyday Experiences of Voluntarism: Social Capital, Pleasure, and the Contingency of Participation
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    Subject Headings:
    • Volunteers -- Great Britain -- Attitudes.
    • Voluntarism -- Government policy -- Great Britain.
    • Social capital (Sociology) -- Great Britain.
      In this article we report on some initial findings of an ESRC-funded qualitative study of 120 individuals across the United Kingdom involved in voluntary activity for 20 hours a week or more. We suggest for these individuals voluntary activity should be understood as pleasurable everyday activity within a community. This being the case, voluntary activists may find it hard to explain their individual sense of enjoyment to others to get them involved as well. This failure can prove frustrating for some and can cause a decline in the pleasure they gain from voluntary activity. The article explores some of the implications of these findings for policies seeking to develop social capital.
    Charles, Nickie.
  • Feminist Politics and Devolution: A Preliminary Analysis
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    Subject Headings:
    • Feminism -- Political aspects -- Wales.
    • Women's shelters -- Political aspects -- Wales.
    • Women in politics -- Wales.
      This article explores developments in Wales consequent to devolution and the election of a legislative body where 50 percent of the representatives are women. Using social movement theory, it explores how the new gendering of political and discursive opportunity structures has affected social policies and the ability of social movements, specifically the domestic violence refuge movement, to influence policy. It concludes that although new opportunities have been created there are also constraints that have the effect of marginalizing more radical feminist voices.
    Carabine, Jean.
    Monro, Surya.
  • Lesbian and Gay Politics and Participation in New Labour's Britain
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    Subject Headings:
    • Gay rights -- Great Britain.
    • Gays -- Great Britain -- Political activity.
    • Local government -- Great Britain.
      This article draws on a two-year ESRC-funded research project on lesbian and gay equality in British local government to explore the possibilities for lesbian and gay politics and participation in New Labour's Britain. It is argued that in the absence of any explicit central government policy supporting lesbian and gay equalities, UK local authorities and community actors are required to act strategically and creatively with available policy discourses and initiatives to create spaces for their purposes. The effectiveness of such strategies, and decisions about which strategies to pursue, are also very much dependent on and affected by local political, cultural, and religious contexts and history.


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