The Fight to End Violence Against Women and the Construction of a Feminist Europe

    • Cover Photo
    • Presentation speakers
      • Michele Greer, Université de Paris 8, France


    In Europe through the concerted efforts of national and regional feminist lobbies, the last two decades have seen the proliferation of campaigns to end VAW, from domestic violence to prostitution. Looking at the sociogenesis of this feminist lobby in Europe, I wish to explore how emotional processes – namely, the practices of feminist anger – have forged a “feminist Europe” identity which states are pressured to adopt or run the risk of exclusion. Constructing an epistemic worth of subjects, forming the economies in which they operate, shaping collective subjectivities, and framing public policy, I will show that VAW campaigns have helped legitimize and institutionalize gender-specific lived experiences of emotion (such as feminist anger) within European governance structures, even generating a professional gender-specific expertise for identifying diverse and multidimensional forms of suffering and injustice. The European identity and subjectivity therefore appears as an important site for the collective feminist struggle. And yet, feminist politics based on women’s lived experiences of gender-based violence – and the situated knowledges of feelings they generate – run the risk of essentializing these lived experiences (and thus relegating others) and creating a fetishized attachment to the “wound” (Brown 1995) along racial, classist, and economical lines.