Prof. Sylvia Walby, Lancaster University Gender and the Crisis
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Introductory Lecture Anneliese Maier Research Awardee 2018, 18.04.2018, 18 h, Gerhard-Mercator-Haus, Lotharstraße 57, 47057 Duisburg
Is the mid-twentieth century European nightmare, in which financial crisis led to economic recession, fascism and violence, being repeated today? What constitutes crisis is contested. The construction of government deficits as if they entailed fiscal crisis to be treated as a state of exception is contested. The cascading of crisis from one institutional domain to another is also contested, since renewed democratic forces potentially provide sites of resilience and resistance. The significance of gender relations in this democratic resistance is often underestimated. How is the crisis restructuring the gender regime? The complex inequalities on which the financial crisis draws, and which the development of global finance exacerbates, intersect in diverse ways. The paper argues for a gendered conceptualisation of the crisis, not as ‘refamilialisation’ in which women are pushed out of production back into reproduction, but rather as a critical turning point in the trajectory of the public gender regime from a more social democratic form to a more neoliberal form. The paper offers analyses of gendered practices of the stages of the crisis. It addresses whether the crisis – erupting in finance in 2007, and cascading through the economy, the fiscal, and the political – is now leading to an increase in violence. The theorisation of crisis is developed using complexity science, gender theory, and a reworking of the concept of social system.