Female consciousness or feminist consciousness? Women's consciousness raising in community-based struggles in Brazil

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Abstract

A key feature of popular urban social movements in Brazil, which sets them apart from many other forms of political organisation and which raises questions about the way in which these movements have been analysed, is the role of women in their formation and organisation. The number of women involved in this type of popular mobilisation has rapidly increased since the 1970s, with women presently constituting, on average, around 80 per cent of participants (Corcoran-Nantes, 1988). Women's roles as leaders and representatives of the popular classes in a wide range of political protests related to urbanisation, employment and the provision of basic services contrasts markedly with their position in political parties and trade unions where they tend to be heavily under-represented in numerical terms, and their interests are not clearly articulated in political programmes and objectives (Tabak, 1983; Schmink, 1981 ). 1 This makes popular movements a challenging area in which to investigate the nature of women's political participation; popular movements may represent a more practical political option for women, thereby offering scope to analyse why, how and when women participate, rather than emphasising the limits of their political involvement.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)249-264
Number of pages16
JournalBulletin of Latin American Research
Volume9
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1990
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Urban social movements
  • Women
  • Political participation

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