‘The Personal is Political’ – From One’s Own Anger to the Other’s Compassion. Feminist Activism in Historical Context
- Date: –15:00
- Location: Centrum för genusvetenskap KWB
- Lecturer: Valgerður Pálmadóttir, visiting researcher, University of Iceland
- Organiser: Centre for Gender Research
- Contact person: Nicole Ovesen
Welcome to the Thursday Seminar at the Centre for Gender Research. The Thursday Seminars provide a space for discussions on gender related topics from different diciplines. Open for all. No registration required.
Abstract: The idea that the personal is political is undoubtedly one of the most iconic phrases in the history of modern feminism. Similarly, the feminist critique of the legal distinction between the private and the public spheres, and how it affects men and women differently runs like a red thread through the history of feminist thought. In this talk I present an analysis of the appearances and uses of these ideas in feminist activism by focusing on two historically separate events. Both events revolved around the reciting of personal stories of oppression and/or violence and harassment in the setting of a symbolic trial, so-called peoples’ tribunals. Their main differences lie in their respective rhetorical and institutional frameworks. The first was a grassroots event held in 1976 and embedded in the culture and language of women’s liberation while the second was organized in 1993 in relation to the United Nations and relied on a human rights framework. I argue that the actualization of the idea “the personal is political” and the political signification and uses of personal stories, changed with global feminism’s turn to the human rights framework – from consciousness raising through the cultivation of anger, to a politics of compassion with a focus on gaining the empathy of others.