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“Nobody’s free until everybody’s free”: Rethinking feminist politics in the 2014 Swedish election campaign
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Informatics and Media.
2015 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

This study explores the hegemonic articulation of ‘feminist politics’ by the Swedish political party Feminist Initiative (Feministiskt initiativ) during 2014 national parliamentary election campaign. The analysis is carried out on two levels: the construction of the hegemonic project of feminist politics and the construction of an antagonist.     

Deploying the discourse-theoretical approach by Ernesto Laclau and Chantal Mouffe as well as the theories of radical democracy and intersectionality, it is shown how a new, broad collective feminist identity is produced by deconstructing womanhood as an identifiable and unproblematic category as well as expanding the signifying chain of feminism by including new social struggles into it. As a result, the feminist subject is conceptualized in radical-democratic terms as a citizen with equal rights, rather than an essentialized female subject. Two nodal points that fix the meaning of the hegemonic project of feminist politics are identified: one is human rights, which enables the expansion of the chain of equivalence, and the other is experience of oppression, which acknowledges differences existing within the movement and prevents it from muting marginalized voices. Discrimination, being the constitutive outside, both threatens and produces the subject: on the one hand, it violates human rights that underlie feminist politics; on the other hand, it produces the experience of oppression that gives a unique feminist perspective to each member of the collective identity. The hegemonic project thus emerges as dependent on the oppressive power of discrimination. The study suggests a critical discussion on how the constitutive outside – discrimination – empties the concept of feminism by a radical expansion of its meaning.   

The research furthermore explores the construction of the antagonist of the hegemonic project. Utilizing analytical concepts from the writings of Jacques Lacan and Slavoj Žižek, it is demonstrated how social structures and norms acquire agency and become the significant Other for the feminist identity. The thesis is concluded by a critical discussion on the fundamental impossibility of identification based on opposing oneself to something that can only be expressed with a signifier that ultimately lacks any signified.    

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. , 76 p.
Keyword [en]
feminism, feminist politics, identity politics, electoral communication, intersectionality, radical democracy, discourse theory, hegemony, antagonism
National Category
Media and Communications
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-256674OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-256674DiVA: diva2:826253
Subject / course
Digital Media
Educational program
Master Programme in Social Sciences
Available from: 2015-06-25 Created: 2015-06-25 Last updated: 2015-06-25Bibliographically approved

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