Global-Local Structural Framework
To do this, I employ a structural approach to policy analysis in which the policy process is understood “as being fundamentally shaped by social structures that systematically disadvantage some groups and advantage others” (Weldon 2002, 6). By social structure, I refer to “a mode of social organizations, a set of relationships that position people relative to others” constituted by norms, rules, and social, political, and economic institutions (179). A structural approach allows for complex interactions between social movements and institutions, much more so than the concept of political opportunity structure promoted in social movement theory (e. g., Tarrow 1994). For example, even a very small, NGO-based social movement does not just arise in response to the structure, but also can impact state institutions to craft new ways of interacting with the state. This framework of policy analysis also allows for agency within the structures of social relations. Individuals and groups often struggle within a multiplicity of constraints and limits, sometimes undermining them through sustained collective campaigns, other times through everyday life choices (Weldon 2002, 183; also Sandoval 2000; Johnson and Robinson 2007).
For this book, the key social structure is gender. Gender is more than just a concept of differences created by culture and society linked to physiological sex; it is a composite of norms, formal and informal rules, and institutions that privilege the masculine over the feminine. Gender pervades individual consciousness and behavior, society, the polity, and the economy, with deep historical roots, but varies across time and place. A structural gender policy analysis requires “analyzing social and political institutions and social movements in terms of whether they undermine or reinforce women’s subordinate position. . . . Gender analy-
* In this process, the EU has functioned more as a state, marshaling amalgamated diplomatic pressure, than an intergovernmental agency.
** Although a part of the UN, UNIFEM has functioned more like a transnational feminist network, providing funding and a platform for organizations working against gender violence in Russia (see also Moghadam 2005, 98—99).
FIGURE і. і. Global-local structural framework (and the key entities involved in Russia’s gender violence politics).
sis should critically examine how policies are embedded in and reflect power relations, and not just differences, between the groups designated as ‘men’ and ‘women’” (Weldon 2002, 182).
Because gender politics in Russia is shaped by foreign intervention, this domestic gender analysis must be embedded in the global context, creating a two – level “game” (Putnam 1988). Conceptualizing this international realm is a contentious issue for international relations theorists, who argue over which actors are significant and how integrated and/or stratified the realm is. This study does not insert itself into these debates, but sees the global realm as similar to the concept of the domestic social structure, as a kind of global social structure in which norms, states, and international organizations can (but do not necessarily) influence domestic political processes (see figure 1.1). Gender is one of these global structures as gender operates within the various parts of the global realm. Gender can be constituted, reified, or undermined at the global level through gendered global norms (such as the norm articulating who is responsible to protect whom), gendered global institutions (such as the male-dominated U. N. Security Council), and the global women’s movement (see Enloe 1993). The incidence of gender violence by mostly male in-country U. N. officials and peacekeeping forces against those people they are charged to protect—including trafficking women into Bosnia to provide sex—reveals how paradoxically gender can operate at the intersection of the global and local.
Between these two realms are political “entrepreneurs” (in the language of international relations) or “intermediaries” (in the language of cultural anthropology), such as national political elites, human rights or feminist activist leaders, service providers, legal professionals, academics, development consultants, and foreign ministers. These activists are entrepreneurial in their sharing of information, their networking, and their drive to attract broader publics and create new channels of institutional access based on their commitment to norms and policy reform (Keck and Sikkink 1998, 14). They are intermediaries in that they negotiate between the local, regional, national, and international, such as by translating global rights principles into local contexts and reframing local grievances into global human rights terms (Merry 2006b, 39). They vary in their commitments to these different arenas and to global feminism. They are also simultaneously powerful and vulnerable, working “in a field of conflict and contradiction, able to manipulate others who have less knowledge than they do but still subject to exploitation by those who installed them” (40). They operate within global, national, regional, and local structures “whose commitment to women’s rights [and alleviation of gender violence] is at best ambivalent” (48).
As a result, the nexus between the global and the local can create unintended consequences. For example, foreign donors’ commitments to their “shareholders” can create incentive structures, institutions, and interests in the target country that impede their stated goals (Henderson 2002; 2003). In this environment, both funders and NGOs are encouraged to chase short-term projects with tangible outcomes over the long-term, more complex work. Dependency on foreign grants—as well as other types of foreign intervention such as transnational feminist networking—can lead to patron-client relationships between the global and the local rather than ties with the local population. On the other hand, when such projects have been more inclusive of locals, foreign assistance has fostered mobilization, dialogue, and new networks of women (True 2003, ch. 6).
As a framework for analysis, the book’s approach is to make all these structures subject to observation. Components of the global-local social structures matter when they combine to impact an issue as observed through close study, and their impact is not simply quantified but elaborated. In sum, this kind of structural gender analysis asks how norms, rules, and institutions, at multiple levels, impact the policy process, including how the global-local structure constructs and reinforces gender operating in society. The analysis also examines how transnational and local activists take advantage of these various structures to promote change.