Feminism Contested and Co-opted: Women, Agency and Politics of Gender in the Greek and Greek-Cypriot Far Right

Kamenou, Nayia. 2023. “Feminism Contested and Co-opted: Women, Agency and Politics of Gender in the Greek and Greek-Cypriot Far Right.” European Journal of Women’s Studies. Online First. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/13505068221145412  The literature on the gender dimension of far-right politics has established the constitutive role of gender and women’s involvement in the far right. However, knowledge about how far-right women negotiate and condition their agency within their parties and how they relate to gender, gender equality and feminism remains limited. This article builds on literature on conservative and far-right women’s agency, and on feminism’s employment by the far right. Based on interviews with female politicians and seasoned activists of the Greek Golden Dawn and the Greek-Cypriot National Popular Front, it examines how highly engaged far-right women construct their political agency at the intersections of often contradictory discourses and how, in doing so, they impact understandings of gender, gender equality and feminism. The analysis of the interview material identifies three different formulations of political agency the participants refer to: radical motherhood; female political militancy/political militant femininity and troubling of far-right gender roles. I argue that these different formulations of political agency show how, by using elements of feminism, far-right women construct flexible and versatile far-right gender discourses, which challenge gender essentialist positions that their parties convey. Moreover, they challenge delineations of far-right women’s political agency based on the compliance/(feminist) resistance dichotomy and expose the processes through which far-right women contest feminism by drawing on it. The article further argues that these formulations of political agency and far-right gender discourses may contribute to the far right’s appeal among women with diverse views on gender, gender equality, feminism and politics, as they may respond to an array of interests and demands that can be made from many different positions. Therefore, beyond contributing to discussions about the role of women, gender and feminism in far-right politics, the article demonstrates the importance of studying far-right women’s views for gaining a well-rounded understanding of this issue.

Policing Welfare: Punitive Adversarialism in Public Assistance

Headworth, Spencer. 2021. Policing Welfare: Punitive Adversarialism in Public Assistance. University of Chicago Press.
policing welfare
Means-tested government assistance in the United States requires recipients to meet certain criteria and continue to maintain their eligibility so that benefits are paid to the “truly needy.”  Welfare is regarded with such suspicion in this country that considerable resources are spent policing the boundaries of eligibility, which are delineated by an often confusing and baroque set of rules and regulations.  Even minor infractions of the many rules can cause people to be dropped from these programs, and possibly face criminal prosecution.  In this book, Spencer Headworth offers the first study of the structure of fraud control in the welfare system by examining the relations between different levels of governmental agencies, from federal to local, and their enforcement practices. Policing Welfare shows how the enforcement regime of welfare has been constructed to further stigmatize those already living in poverty and deepens disparities of class, race, and gender in our society.