The argument for global-local. structural framework
In terms of theory, this study demonstrates the analytical power of a global-local structural framework (see table 1.1). These chapters demonstrate that, following the emergence of the global feminist consensus, it is not correct to assume that gender politics is only a domestic process. Russia is a country more sovereign than most and thus not necessarily likely to be influenced by global processes. If even Russia was influenced by foreign intervention, this suggests that, by the mid – 1990s, international ideas, organizations, and institutions might also shape the national gender politics in most countries. Domestically centered gender policy analyses, such as feminist comparative policy studies, would do well to make sure to consider the potential impact of extranational institutions.
The global-local framework requires potentially influential structures at all levels, the mechanisms between them, and the direction of impact to be held up for observation. In this Russian study, the primary relationship is one of foreign intervention in which the global has more impact on the local than vice versa. Russia’s gender violence politics was not in the shape of Keck and Sikkink’s (1998) boomerang, where local organizations draw in international organizations to end-run the state. The pattern was also not the ping pong model found in the EU gender violence policy, where activism and initiatives bounce back and forth between the EU level and the member states (Zippel 2006, 120). At this point, Russia’s gender violence politics was more like a game of catch. Global actors (donors, transnational activists, and governments) tossed the ball (funds, norms, diplomacy) at Russia (activists, policymakers, social workers, and law enforcement officials) and waited to see whether Russia would catch or drop the ball or step out of the way. (Sometimes, as in the case of U. S. intervention on the issue of trafficking, the ball was thrown at the catcher’s head.) This variation shows that all three of these models are context-, time-, and issue-specific. The global-local structural framework is a reminder to consider the possibility of such variation.
Finally, the framework requires the inclusion of the impact of gender on the process and of the process on gender as a composite of norms, rules, institutions. When policy analyses do not foreground gender as a structural variable, they will miss potentially unsettling consequences and well as mischaracterize the causal mechanisms. In this Russian case, such focus on gender is essential to understanding how and why the Russian polity both resists and accepts some global feminists arguments. It is also essential to recognizing the long-term costs of the antitrafficking intervention predicated on neotraditional notions of gender relations. As this study shows, the assertion of social movement theory that success occurs when norms and models resonate with the local culture is not quite right. The new antitrafficking ideas resonate so much with Russia’s resurgent nationalism and gender neotraditionalism that they issue no critique of the underlying problems of gender inequality. As proposed in chapter 2 (see table 2.1), gender analysis should also consider whether initiatives contain any comprehensive feminism opposing sex/gender hierarchies. Many initiatives that are cloaked in feminist language are parafeminist (where gender is not seen as socially constructed) or pseudofeminist (where the initiative is simply designed to address problems typically faced by women).