Feminism, the Political Participation of Women, and “Contesting Publics:” Going beyond the Private-Public Dichotomy and Considering Links between the Local and the Global

Close Reading
By Isabelle Giraud

In order to study feminism and feminist activism, we need to go beyond the traditional public-private dichotomy and to articulate the interplay of various scales of protest. These are two issues found in the promising research program of L. Phillips, S. Cole, and their students M.-E. Carrier-Moisan and E. Lagalisse in Contesting Publics: Feminism, Activism, Ethnography (Pluto Press, 2013). The way the authors develop their approach to their respective research fields in Latin America, through the concept of “contesting publics,” reveals generational effects: the young researchers managed better than did their professors to overcome the public-private divide, due to the former group developing an intersectional analysis with greater ease. Professional biases are also noticeable, with both generations of researchers displaying difficulties in integrating the transnational scale of activism into their analysis, even though they present activist testimonies that mention the importance of transnational feminist networks.


  • feminism
  • Latin America
  • civil society
  • scales of protest
Go to the article on Cairn-int.info