Development, 2009, 52(2), (175–184) r 2009 Society for International Development 1011-6370/09 www.sidint.



Beyond NGO-ization? Reflections from Latin America


ABSTRACT Sonia Alvarez reconsiders what she had earlier labelled ‘the Latin American feminist NGO boom’ of the 1990s. She offers reflections on how and why, at least in that region of the world, we may be moving beyond it. Alvarez revisits the notion of NGO-ization, then reviews the crucial ‘movement work’ performed by NGOs that was often obscured by that notion. She proposes that Latin American feminisms and other social movements may be moving away from the particular organizational forms and practices – actively promoted and officially sanctioned by national and global neo-liberalism – that characterized NGO-ization in the past. KEYWORDS feminist movements; NGOs; ‘sidestreaming’ feminism; discursive fields of action; World Social Forum; alternative knowledge producers

This essay revisits what I referred to as ‘the Latin American feminist NGO boom’of the 1990s and offers some reflections on how and why, at least in that region of the world, we may be moving beyond it.1 As we know, NGOs became the subject of considerable controversy among feminists across the globe in the 1990s.While States, inter-governmental organizations (IGOs) and international financial institutions (IFIs) embraced NGOs as a‘magic bullet’of which‘nothing short of miracles’was to be expected (Edwards and Hulme, 1996; Fisher, 1997: 442), critical feminist discourses of the late 1990s, my own work included, problematized a process that feminists in both activist and scholarly circles dubbed ‘NGO-ization’ (Lang, 1997; Alvarez, 1998, 1999; Schild, 1998; Silliman, 1999). In Latin America, the debate over NGOs was particularly heated and often acerbic. In the eyes of their staunchest critics, NGOs were veritable traitors to feminist ethical principles who depoliticized feminist agendas and collaborated with neo-liberal ones. Some contended that feminist NGOs were ‘institutionalized branches of the movement’ that had been summarily ‘co-opted by the powers they once criticized (such as the state and transnational capital and their agents)’ (Castro, 2001: 17). NGOs’ most strident detractors, the feministas autonomas, sustained that ‘to demand, reform, negotiate, and Ł lobby’, common practices among late twentieth century feminist NGOs, ‘are actions
Development (2009) 52(2), 175–184. doi:10.1057/dev.2009.23

I will first. As we know. I want to stress. Mujeres Creando. . In joining the critique of the 1990s critique of feminist NGOs. Alvarez. 1997: 11). 1996. As the region’s neo-liberal governments sought to administer the enormous social costs of draconian structural adjustment policies while cutting back State expenditures and social programmes. Donna Murdock (2008) and Millie Thayer (2000. 1997.. 2008: 210). R|¤ os Tobar et al.2 We need to move beyond unilateral condemnations of NGOs that have fed these kinds of antifeminist arguments and obscured the potential for agency and ‘wiggle room’ even among those NGOs most beholden to global neo-liberal 176 gender agendas (Hemment. politically collaborative and technically proficient feminist practices that triggered what I have called the ‘NGO Boom’of the 1990s in Latin America. A number of national. complicity with the crime of sexual abuse’. As Hemment (2007: 68) rightly insists. Bedrega. Since many of those programmes targeted poor urban and rural women. in contexts like Colombia... governments enjoined feminist NGOs to ‘partner’ with the State ^ often in the name of enhancing ‘women’s citizen participation’ in the policy process ^ and to lend their expertize in ‘gender matters’ in executing (though rarely in formulating) them. Monasteiros P. subsidiaries and legitimators of the politics of domination and oppression’ (Galindo. moreover. apologia for the crime of abortion. NGO-ization. as technicalprofessional organizations that are at once integral parts of feminist movements (Alvarez. and therefore engaging in self-critique. forthcoming) in moving beyond binary representations of NGOs. 2005. She cautions. then review the crucial ‘movement work’ performed by NGOs that was often obscured by that notion. 2007: 12^13. revisit the notion of NGO-ization. NGOs have even become the targets of paramilitary forces who dub them ‘parasubversives’. NGO-ization revisited I must begin by clarifying that my original use of the term NGO-ization was not intended as a synonym or shorthand for the proliferation of NGOs during the 1990s. among other offenses. multilateral and bilateral agencies and foreign donors. And feminist NGOs are not always spared harassment at the other end of the political spectrum. And it was State. see also Alvarez et al. their two facets. professional staff and funding from government. 2006. 1999: 200). In this essay. President Uribe himself has called human rights groups ‘defenders of terrorism’ (Murdock. regional and global forces fuelled NGO-ization in Latin America. entailed national and global neo-liberalism’s active promotion and official sanctioning of particular organizational forms and practices among feminist organizations and other sectors of civil society. however. forthcoming).Development 52(2): Dialogue based on a liberal ‘ethic’ that make social movements as a whole into lifeless entities. The Good NGOs^Bad NGOs binary does not do justice to the dual or hybrid identity of feminist NGOs. I join scholars such as Julie Hemment (2007). 2003). Rather. in most feminist NGOs ‘the good and the bad are intertwined and interdependent’. many increasingly turned to those NGOs they deemed technically capable and politically trustworthy to assist in the task of ‘social adjustment’. as Nicaraguan activists have learned since abortion was re-criminalized under Daniel Ortega’s reign and several NGO leaders have been charged with ‘illegal association to commit delinquency. that ‘[b]lanket assessments of feminist NGOs as handmaidens of neoliberal planetary patriarchy’ failed to capture the ambiguities and variations in and among NGOs (Alvarez. that ‘the critique of NGOs has resonated with anti-democratic and antihuman rights forces and led to the withdrawal of funds from rights-promoting projects’ (2007: 142). donors also had a strong hand in pushing feminist organizations towards more professionalized. NGO-ization during that decade was not simply about an increase in the numbers of more formally structured feminist organizations with paid. and finally offer some reflections on how and why Latin American feminisms and other social movements may be beginning to move ‘beyond the Boom’. IGO and IFI promotion of more rhetorically restrained. in my view. 1999: 196). 2003. Indeed. They vehemently condemned feminist NGOs for having ‘institutionalized’ the women’s movement and ‘sold out’ to the forces of ‘global neoliberal patriarchy’ (Pisano.

if not most. traverses much of the party spectrum and engages with a variety of national and international policy arenas. even at the height of the Boom. monographs and edited collections on topics ranging from gender and ethnic discrimination suffered by indigenous. and paid administrative.1998. Finally. countries in the region today not only has been ‘mainstreamed’ so that it extends vertically across different levels of government. peasant and rural women workers to the poor quality of gynaecological care offered by public health facilities and the widespread incidence of cervical cancer among working class women to the courts’ shoddy record in adjudicating domestic violence cases. feminism in many. First. if you will. Finally. and increasingly focused on creating knowledge and policy’ (Murdock. research and outreach staff ^ became mainstays of feminist fields.‘Trickling up. The data and analysis generated by NGOs have provided vital foundations for more effective feminist 177 Feminist NGOs’ oft-neglected ‘movement work’ What was often overlooked in scholarly and activist critiques of NGO-ization was the fact that. leading some to place empowerment goals and a wide range of movement-oriented activities ‘on the strategic ‘‘back burner’’’ as Murdock suggests. functionally specific departments.Alvarez: Beyond NGO-ization in Latin America formal structures. 2008: 34) and often played a critical role in grounding and articulating the expansive. largescale workshops and forums. many NGOs have been important producers of feminist knowledge. and sideways’. feminist cultural^political interventions in the public debate were often reduced to technical ones. heterogeneous Latin American feminist fields of the 1990s and 2000s. 2000). NGO-ization had resulted from the confluence of three trends. helping to interweave disparate feminist actors and articulate them discursively. disseminating feminist discourses and serving as nodal points in the multiple political-communicative webs and networks that link diverse and dispersed feminist actors. Friedman. 48). By producing feminist knowledges. 2008: 26. They churn out scores of position papers. as in Fiona Macaulay’s (forthcoming) apt depiction of Brazil’s ‘multi-nodal women’s movement’and ‘gender policy community’. and to put ‘demonstrable impact (or more bang for the development buck). as States and IGOs increasingly turned to feminist NGOs as gender experts rather than as citizens’ groups advocating on behalf of women’s rights. governed by corporate business management principles [becoming ‘empresas sociales’ or social companies]. and more overt participation in the policy arena’ on the ‘front burner’ (Murdock. the BeijingWomen’s Conference and others in the string of Social Summits and the follow-up ‘ þ5’and then ‘ þ10’ conferences it sponsored during the 1990s and 2000s (Alvarez. as States increasingly subcontracted feminist NGOs to advise on or carry out government women’s programmes. it was reconfigured as discursive fields of action (Alvarez. forthcoming). garnered through short-term projects. specialized publications. Some of the larger and better-resourced feminist organizations boast research departments that rival those of many university Women’s Studies programmes in the region. the process of NGOization was further accentuated when the UN summoned feminist NGOs to participate in Cairo Summit on Population and Development. down. As feminism was diffused among diverse subjects and into a wide range of spaces and places. professionalized NGOs remained ‘true to their feminist roots’ (Murdock. including parallel social movement publics. spreading horizontally into a wide array of class and racial-ethnic communities and social and cultural spaces. 1999: 183). NGOs’ ability to critically monitor policy and advocate for more thoroughgoing feminist reform was sometimes jeopardized (Alvarez. feminisms also has been ‘sidestreamed’. sizeable budgets. as neo-liberal States and IGOs viewed NGOs as surrogates for civil society. By the late 1990s. First. NGOs ^ with their permanent headquarters. Many organizations found themselves ‘caught up in the y NGO Boom ^ becoming more hierarchically organized. many if not most . Second. 2008: 3). These trends unsettled the hybrid identities of many feminist NGOs in the region. feminist NGOs began to be (selectively) consulted on gender policy matters on the assumption that they served as ‘intermediaries’ to larger societal constituencies.

and social and political institutions. The multiple. regional and global movement fields. that ‘model’also revealed limits for actually implementing hard-won policy gains. di Marco. That is. 1998: 147).1995: 29). and is often tapped and redeployed to a variety of ends by feminists active in other civil society organizations and social and political institutions. Ł That is. the communicative webs that NGOs help sustain work to disseminate feminist discourses indirectly into a variety of other publics. The now Ł pervasive feminist practice of ‘enredarse’or ‘getting entangled’consists of more formalized and institutionalized territorial. feminist NGOs work to mobilize ideas. then. civil society organizations. The discourses that inform feminist practices across a wide range of sites. moreover. Not only had NGO-ization exacerbated power imbalances among feminists and sometimes dulled feminisms’ more radical edge. 2000: 26. routes travelled by feminist products and discourses. As the various ‘ þ 5’ conferences revealed that feminist and other progressive movements’project of influencing international policy arenas had . which requires public pressure. secured through changes in public opinion. Internally. growing numbers of NGOs arguably have again placed ‘movement work’ on the front burner. including many trade unions and grassroots groups. many NGO professionals now maintain. A second critical way that NGOs have been central to sustaining movement fields. neighbourhood groups and trade unions. then. engaging more vigorously in outreach and linking to other social movements and broader non-institutional publics. there has been growing critical introspection and recognition of the limits of what Christina Ewig (1999) dubbed the ‘NGO-based social movement model’. not 178 just people. Moreover. not just through policy monitoring. government bureaucrats and other public officials. partly accounts for why ‘a diffuse feminism’ has spread among a good number of popular women’s organizations in many countries in the region (Feijoo. Indeed. Feminisms’ discursive ‘baggage’ thus sometimes travels ‘unaccompanied’. Feminist NGO products are also often used in educational and conscientizacion activities Ł mounted by other (non-feminist) social movements and civil society organizations. Throughout Latin America. as the vast constellation of knowledge products generated by NGOs wind their way through feminisms’ multi-layered political-communicative webs. Several developments ^ internal and external to feminist fields ^ help account for the visible shifts underway among feminist NGOs and networks. if sometimes unchartered. national. advocacy-focused and identity-centred networks organized on a local. national. Moreover. so to speak. ‘‘ m I a feminist?’’’and A thus help forge what Jane Mansbridge has theorized as the ‘discursively created movement y that inspires activists and is the entity to which they feel accountable’ (Mansbridge. Peruvian feminists Cecilia Olea Mauleon and VirginiaVargas describe Ł ‘the movement’ itself as a kind of ‘mega-network’ (Olea Mauleon and Vargas. in more recent times. reticulated and informal webs of inter-personal and inter-organizational communication and interaction. Though much of their knowledge production is explicitly aimed at influencing the policy process and is distributed widely to legislators. flow through what Colombian feminist sociologist Magdalena Leon once referred to as a veritable Ł ‘tangle of networks’ (‘un enredo de redes’) ^ both formal and informal. a good deal is also selfconsciously directed at ‘the movement’. is as disseminators of feminist discourses. regional or global scale. 2006).Development 52(2): Dialogue advocacy in a variety of settings ^ from UN Summits and national legislatures to local schools. as well as more fluid. they also often cross over into other (overlapping) networks of social movements. many are seeking to re-articulate local. Movements beyond the boom? The above outlined movement/field-sustaining work of NGOs was often obscured in critiques of NGO-ization prevailing during the boom years. thematic. And feminist NGO texts also often offer theoretical interpretations and conceptual innovations that contribute directly to that ‘fluid and continually evolving body of meanings that feminists think of when they ask themselves. even where there may be no bona fide ‘feminist activists’ in sight.

2004) Indeed. which has swept much of Latin America since the late 1990s and has now enveloped the globe. human rights. it also became increasingly apparent to many that any possibility for more significant changes in the rights and life conditions of most women and men was in effect blocked by the intensification of neo-liberal globalization. middle and end points ^ and (back) towards a ‘process-oriented logic’. could well shake the foundations of NGO-ization as new modalities of ‘development’are promoted to address crisis-riddled social formations. new regional and global movements that found their most enduring expression in the WSF (Eschle. regional and global organizing processes. In a critical retrospective on feminist involvement in national and international policy monitoring. and the concomitant erosion of citizenship and social policies during that same decade (Alvarez et al. first embracing and then casting off a long series of enthusiastically touted new strategies. can anticipate becoming victims of the current unrealistic expectations and being abandoned as rapidly and as widely as they have been embraced’ (Fisher. or environmentalist agendas into the international accords and platforms of the 1990s. 2004). and multi-scalar networks growing out of the World Social Forum (WSF) and other recent national. openended and continuous. hip hop and alternative media movements emergent throughout the region. The evident crisis of neo-liberalism. 2005. If the UN-focused ‘global civil society’of the1990s had mirrored the hegemonic international system and operated well within its discursive parameters. Harcourt. if it had been possible to incorporate some of the elements of feminist. which is more fluid. many NGO activists grew ever more disillusioned with the fruits of their ‘expert’advocacy work. our conceptions and our political practices since the Beijing conference’. from the very beginning. indigenous and Afro-descendent peoples to the innovative modalities of politics developed by Brazil’s MST. (Vargas. not just because of what had not been fulfilled. regional and global political economy and forms of governance now place political premiums and offer rewards for activist practices and organizational forms distinct from those that fuelled the boom. we moved to a much less seductive reality. As anthropologist William Fisher predicted in an influential 1997 essay. the global justice and solidarity movement. Involving an impressively broad array of non-state actors. yet diffuse. though not linear. argued that 2000 represented a critical turning point when ‘we reexamined ourselves. 2009).Alvarez: Beyond NGO-ization in Latin America yielded meagre concrete results. ‘[d]evelopment has been a fickle industry. Many feminist activists and networks were. after our initial enthusiasm about everything that could be achieved with the fulfillment of the recommendations of the Platform. Neo-liberalism’s crisis helped spark the current turn toward the Left and Center-Left and the resurgence of the National-Popular (or according to some. she sustained. this revitalized ‘anti-systemic’ resistance spanned from mass mobilizations in Bolivia and Ecuador and novel forms of organizing among immigrants. Engagement with these ‘counterhegemonic’spaces may prompt NGOs to move away from the ‘project-centred logic’ fuelled by NGOization ^ in which feminist cultural-political interventions are ‘results-driven’ and have clear beginning. the 2000s witnessed the rise of a counter-hegemonic global social forces that found their point of articulation precisely in its radical opposition to the reigning global neo-liberal regime ^ the anti-globalization movement or. Peruvian activist VirginiaVargas. 179 . structural adjustment processes. Argentina’s piqueteros. Though there ‘undoubtedly were advances’. which pose new challenges and offer fresh opportunities for feminist interventions in institutional and extra-institutional political arenas (Friedman. 2006. the rise of neo-populism). NGOs. Alvarez. part of these ample. who headed the NGO preparatory process in the mid-1990s. now so widely praised. as others would have it. NGO-ization has been further rattled by factors external to movement fields: changes in national.. The obvious deficiencies of neo-liberalism unleashed innovative and dynamic resistance movements at the turn of the present century. 1997: 443). the ever more dramatic rolling back of the State. but also because everything that had achieved had been flattened and left doors open for retrogression.

organization or network. sizeable regional cadre of project and policyfocused ‘gender expert’ NGO professionals. A number of the feminist NGOers most involved in the region’s protracted engagement with the UN process have turned to alternative advocacy strategies more focused on intervening in cultural representations and the broader public debate. two sides of the same feminist coin. big international NGOs (BINGOs) and networks that continue to specialize in policy monitoring and service delivery. which began in the late 1990s and continues to the present day. products of recent forms of resistance to neo-liberalism’s reign. 2007). Regaining that legitimacy might well entail a (re)transformation of NGOized NGOs into twenty-first century variants of the ‘popular movement-assistance NGOs’of yesteryear (Landim. women in neighbourhood councils and the mass-based Bartolina Sisa National Federation of Bolivian Peasant Women ‘have come to be perceived as the legitimate representatives of large women’s majorities’ while the legitimacy of ‘the technocratic middle class. moreover. The growing recognition of the limits of NGO-ization have triggered re-visioned advocacy strategies to expand those limits and renewed activist efforts to overcome them. Gago. 2003) ^ like the many NGOs that today specialize in advising participatory budget councils in PT-led cities throughout Brazil. Disheartened by the limited effectiveness of transnational advocacy processes aimed at influencing IGOs and IFIs and critical of neo-liberal and other ‘fundamentalisms’. by activists I will call ‘the stepdaughters of neoliberalism’. 1993. 2005: 34). many have invested heavily in the WSF process as an alternative arena for transnational activism. 180 the 2000s also witnessed the consolidation of a .‘is marked by disengagement.Development 52(2): Dialogue 2007. As Monasteiros maintains in the case of Bolivia. regional and national development discourses (Harcourt. products of the widespread disillusionment with the ‘post-social summit’ era. as has apparently been the case in Chavez’s Venezuela (Rakowski Ł and Espina. in terms of government funding) than those who expend their energies in the corridors of the UN. This third moment. Teixeira. rather than centering their efforts more narrowly and technically on policy-making arenas. some of the most NGOized have actually morphed into private consultancy firms. or at least significant problematizing by the women’s movement of the development discourse and apparatus and a decided shift toward interest in other sites of power and knowledge production’ (Harcourt. by the turn of the 2000s. for example. especially popular-class based. by previously marginalized etho-racial majorities ^ are now often seeking and rewarding different sorts of NGO partners. constituencies. The former have been taken on by people one of my intervieweesfacetiously referred to as ‘the orphans of the UN’. NGOs still often provide ‘gender expertise’ to governments of the Pink Tide. particularly the NGOs’ is being seriously questioned. In fact. the increasing recognition of the limits of NGO-ization has led growing numbers of feminists to what Wendy Harcourt refers to as a ‘third moment’ in their engagements with the global. Espina. 2007: 33. 2008: 181). NGOs that work with a demonstrable ‘mass base’ are likely to fare better politically (and perhaps materially. In some cases. the latter. I want to stress that this distinction is not intended as a dichotomy. Beyond NGO-ization? Despite these recent trends. instead. those with stronger links to and capabilities for serving as intermediaries with broader civil society. indigenous women’s groups (both rural and urban). for example. Still. Governments of the so-called ‘Pink Tide’ ^ spanning more or less intense shades of leftist ‘red’governments fromVenezuela to Paraguay to Brazil to Chile and those backed. these sometimes represent two facets of the same activist. thereby ‘changing who gets to represent women’s interests and demands’ (Monasteiros P. as in the cases of Bolivia and Ecuador. 2007) and has certainly been true in Lula’s Brazil and Bachelet’s Chile. but they are perhaps less likely to serve as ‘surrogates for civil society’ in such contexts. Particularly in the case of more ‘red’ or mass-mobilization-based governments like those of Chavez or Ł Evo Morales. Harcourt suggests. 2006.‘NGOized’ NGOs show few signs going away in the near future. 2005: 34).

to ‘provoke debate’ in both activist and policy circles about ‘bodily and sexual rights’as core dimensions of democratic citizenship. now grouped in a coalition called Articulacion Feminista Marcosur Ł (AFM or Marcosur Feminist Articulation. the WMW declared that they were participating in the Porto Alegre event because they had ‘supported demonstrations that have taken place all over the world. But feminist pressure in the WSF process. antineo-liberal movements. on the basis of differences and particularities of human beings’ and advocates ‘a reconceptualization of the body in its political dimension’ (Campana por la Convencion de los ì Ł Derechos Sexuales y los Derechos Reproductivos. for example.Alvarez: Beyond NGO-ization in Latin America Several of the core feminist NGOs who spearheaded the Latin American parallel preparatory processes for the Cairo and Beijing UN Conferences and their respective þ 5 ‘sequels’. much less that most national governments would endorse it in the short-to-medium term. mothers who struggle against police brutality and others in the popular movements that have blossomed since the economic debacle of late 2001 in Argentina. New ways of doing politics have grown out of feminist involvement inWorld Summits. reproductive rights activists from across the region who originally came up with the idea for this campaign ^ explained that. and national and regional networks. to use the feminist presence established within these joint spaces to empower and influence the whole of society’ (AFM. is crucial because ‘it is y a complicated site of alliances with other movements whose orientation to feminism is not always one of acknowledgement’ (AFM. and the growing recognition of their limitations. converge’ (AFM. where many new strategies and concerns of globalized social movements. Many of the Latin American feminists most invested in addressing the material consequences of globalization identify with what some have come to call ‘the anti-capitalist camp’ of the WSF and are among the folks I’m calling ‘stepdaughters of neoliberalism’. 2006:17). have found 181 . and in particular. 2002). It views the WSF as ‘a plural space with proposals for an alternative globalization. And it is within the process of fighting for everyone’s freedom. was centrally involved in the -˜ Forum process from the outset. headquartered at Sempre Viva Organizac ao Feminista. they insist. workers in recovered enterprises (fabricas recuperadas). viewing it as an indispensable space of action for feminisms. because we believe feminism is fundamental to renew[ing] the sense of those fights. though it was in principle modelled after the 1994 Inter-American Convention on Violence against Women. their preparatory and implementation processes. and often also engage with anti-globalization movements. For the AFM. such as the campaign for an InterAmerican Convention on Sexual Rights and Reproductive Rights ^ launched in mid-2001 by a consortium of 16 feminist NGOs. research institutes. 2002: 14). Graciela di Marco has suggested. which have been against militarism and the neoliberal politics denoting a commodification of life. to use the Inter-American system in ‘subversive’ ways. It is in the cultural dimension where the right to have rights takes root. they hardly expected the Organizational of American States to readily embrace the idea of a Sexual and Reproductive Rights Convention. that feminism rejuvenates [itself ] each and every day’.3 Instead. New forms of ‘popular feminism’ have taken shape among the various recent grassroots. for instance. 2002: 7). In a flyer distributed during the 2003 WSF. a wordplay on Mercosur). Uruguayan feminists Lucy Garrido and Lilian Celiberti ^ who formed part of an informal ‘web’ of pro-choice. The Brazilian branch of the World March of Women against Violence and Poverty (WMW). the WSF is a logical ‘world public’ in which to pursue on several of its core goals. One such innovation is the spread of national and transnational ‘campaigns’ aimed as much at unsettling dominant cultural codes as they are at reforming legal ones. The campaign also evinces an emphasis on ‘counter-cultural struggle’: it declares that ‘[t]he changes to which we aspire are both material and symbolic in nature. they said they wanted to ‘shake things up’. including the AFM. such as feminism. have directed many of their energies towards participating in and influencing the WSF process. that women piqueteras. ‘To strengthen the articulation between social movements.

and in the marches. 2003). political and other activities. ‘a contingent articulation of heterogeneous elements. obreras de empresas recuperadas. of diverse demands that constitute the multiplicity of the movements (piqueteras. Professionalized.Development 52(2): Dialogue ‘their channel for expression in the Encuentros Nacionales de Mujeres [which attract close to 20. and feministas) gave rise to a chain of equivalences. And the expanding feminist pueblo is also apparent in the pronounced visibility and expressive expansion of what contributors to a recent anthology of the region’s feminisms variously refer to as ‘Third Wave feminism’. Afro-descendant and Indigenous women. though professionalization and institutionalization (in the sense of routinization) represent their own vexing challenges for internal democracy within and among movement groups. following Laclau she dubs a ‘pueblo feminista’ or ‘feminist people’. campesinas. Thus. Like most NGOs in feminist and other movement fields. many feminist NGOs in Latin America. educational. lesbians ^ have translated and radically transformed some of its core tenets and fashioned ‘other feminisms’. research. I’ve tried to suggest. ind|¤ genas. especially the right to abortion’ that has led to the appearance of a collective identity. formally structured NGOs also abound among the diverse expressions of feminism that have flourished in the 2000s. sexual and racial justice.000 women each year]. hegemonically represented in sexual rights. Manifestations of that feminist pueblo are also amply evident at the WSF and other local and regional articulations of the ‘anti-capitalist camp’ such as the V|¤ a Campesina ^ a global network of small agriculturalists in which popular feminism is arguably hegemonic. . always changing. As discursive fields of action. She maintains that the articulation of feminism and other social movements. By way of conclusion At the height of neo-liberal entrenchment. Which actors. ‘feminismos con apellidos’ (R|¤ os Tobar et al. on the move.. There is. They are continually reconfigured by a mix of internal and external forces and have shifting centres of gravity. in the struggle for legal abortion and for freeing women imprisoned for participation in these movements’ (di Marco. These diverse feminisms ^ together with young women from all social groups and classes who proclaim themselves ‘feministas jovenes’ with agendas Ł 182 distinct from earlier generations ^ have produced effervescent movement currents that proffer trenchant critiques of enduring inequalities among women. differ from those that prevailed at the height of the Boom. discourses. forthcoming). thereby expanding the scope and reach of feminist messages and revitalizing women’s cultural and policy interventions across the region.‘complex identity feminisms’. those established by young women or black feminists typically engage in a range of cultural. and sometimes contentiously entangled. that are deeply entwined. no 21st century Iron Law of NGO-ization. asamble|¤ stas. they do not in themselves determine the types of feminist practices that are prioritized by NGOs. based on the discursive construction of a common adversary. developing gendered expertise in policy monitoring and project execution. feminisms are dynamic. in this case the ‘carriers of traditional and patriarchal values’ (di Marco. including among some firmly rooted in the ‘anticapitalist camp’. as well as between women and men of diverse racial and social groups. and carrying out a variety of social programmes for States. outreach. practices and organizational forms prevail or are most politically visible at any given time in a given socio-political context therefore necessarily varies. as elsewhere. and these may include policy ^ as well as movement-focused work. or ‘feminism of shifting identities’ (Lebon and Maier. which. forthcoming).Yet many of the activities that get ‘frontburnered’ today. The very women whom the ‘hegemonic feminism’ of the so-called ‘Second Wave’ viewed as ‘others’ ^ poor and working class women. with national and global struggles against all forms of inequality and for social. 2006: 255). were pulled into serving as representative surrogates for civil society. in short.

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