091 The Struggle for Autonomy: European Women’s Movements and Body Politics

Tuesday, June 25, 2013: 4:00 PM-5:45 PM
2.13 (Binnengasthuis)
This panel would analyze how contemporary European women’s movements have contested the state in the struggle for full bodily citizenship. We will also cover policy change and how women’s movements have contributed for the right of self-determination of women. Employing a most different case study approach, we will trace discursive and policy changes in abortion and prostitution law and policies in four countries: the Czech Republic, the Netherlands, Portugal and Sweden since the late 1960s in order to determine the role of women’s movements in these changes. The comparative approach highlights that women’s movement groups, despite the considerable differences between these states, show remarkable commonalities in discourse, framing and political demands across borders, with autonomy and self-determination as key terms. The approach also demonstrates the lasting importance of policy legacies within the national state, which set limits to challenging discourses and framings and continue to influence policy, as the legacy of eugenic policy in Sweden and the Czech Republic and religion in the Netherlands and Portugal in abortion policy show. In similar ways the legacy of labelling prostitutes as social deviants remains in evidence in Sweden and the Czech Republic, while religion informs the more compassionate treatment of prostitutes in the other two countries. Similarity in discourses cuts across the dividing line between former dictatorships/authoritarian regimes, and established democracies. The panel offers an important contribution to the debates on the (feminist) new institutionalism and, by the emphasis on discursive change, to social movement theory.

Ana Prata
Amy Denissen
Constructing bodily citizenship in the Czech Republic
Radka Dudová, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic
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