QUESTION: womens' roles in activist organizations

question / pregunta: 

I am looking for recent (past five years) publications on the roles of women in activist organizations for a literature review in preparation for a series of documentary interviews.

I am not looking for biographies, but rather behavorial analysis or case studies. Book or journal publications are preferred, but well referenced website essays or dissertations are okay too.



An initial rough bibliography and book list has been posted on a separate page. Others please add more!

This list was created by choosing sources from Academic Search Premier, which is available at most academic and many public libraries, with the search terms "women" and "activist OR activism". Using that resource you can find abstracts of these and other articles. Other librarians may suggest/utilize other databases to supplement this list.

Answer posted by:

1) Women's Gendered Experiences as Long-Term Three Mile Island Activists

Marci R. Culley and Holly L. Angelique
Gender and Society, Vol. 17, No. 3 (Jun., 2003), pp. 445-461
Published by: Sage Publications, Inc.

2) The Women's Movement in Serbia and Montenegro at the Turn of
the Millennium: A Sociological Study of Women's Groups
* Andjelka Milić
* Feminist Review, No. 76, Post-Communism: Women's Lives in
Transition (2004), pp. 65-82
* Published by: Palgrave Macmillan Journals

From Project Muse

Poner el Cuerpo: Women's Embodiment and Political Resistance in Argentina
Sutton, Barbara.
Latin American Politics & Society, Volume 49, Number 3, Fall 2007, pp.
129-162 (Article)


This article explores the relationship between women's embodiment and
political resistance in Argentina during 2002–2003. This was a time of
socioeconomic crisis, influenced by neoliberal globalization. In this
tumultuous context, women's bodies became embattled sites, shaken by
the crisis but also actively engaged in constructing a new society and
new forms of womanhood. Bodies are important to understanding
political resistance, as reflected by the meanings attached to poner
el cuerpo, a common expression in contemporary Argentine social
movements. This article analyzes how women construct embodied
subjectivities through their activist practices and how they define
poner el cuerpo in terms of collective protest and daily activist
work, coherence between words and actions, embodied sacrifice, and
risk taking and struggle. As life in Argentina deteriorated because of
the crisis, women's bodies represented not only suffering but also
resistance and renewal.

Prospects for Renewed Feminist Activism in the Heartland: A Study of
Daytonian Women's Politics
Runyan, Anne Sisson.
Wenning, Mary V.
NWSA Journal, Volume 16, Number 3, Fall 2004, pp. 180-214 (Article)


We present findings on women's political perspectives, participation,
and activism derived from a survey of women in Montgomery County,
Ohio, undertaken by the Women's Research Network formed at Wright
State University, which we argue have both local and national
implications for feminist organizing. We connect this work and these
findings to the history of feminism in Dayton as well as to other
status-of-women studies at national, state, and local levels. Our
analysis shows that there has been a substantive decline in feminist
activism and radicalism in Dayton, Ohio, the "heartland of America,"
in the face of continued race and class divisions among women, the
rise of the New Right, and an aging population. Given increasing
barriers to the renewal of feminist activism in the heartland, local
research on women such as this can provide one avenue for the
reanimation of feminist civil society by identifying not only what
divides women but also what issues can connect them. Such data offer
the raw materials for future feminist activists and such research
projects constitute one form of renewed feminist activism.


Legitimation struggles: Credibility claims in the radical women's
prison movement
by Lawston, Jodie M., Ph.D., University of California, San Diego,
2006, 193 pages; AAT 3241817

Abstract (Summary)

This project explores the ways in which a radical social movement
organization, comprised primarily of privileged constituents that work
to represent a disadvantaged and disempowered population, frames group
goals to establish credibility vis-à-vis three primary audiences:
fellow activists, beneficiaries, and skeptical societal publics. Using
an organization in the contemporary radical women's prison movement of
California as the research site, my analysis reveals certain practical
dilemmas that activists face.

In trying to frame their work to each other, predominantly white,
middle class, formally educated activists work to overcome struggles
with racial privilege. In trying to frame their work to prisoners,
activists struggle with the stark contrast between themselves and
women who are predominantly of color, poor, and formally uneducated.
In this context, activists work to bridge, or connect, themselves to
women prisoners. Finally, in trying to frame their work to groups and
individuals in the larger societal context, activists attempt to
re-frame an invisible yet highly stigmatized population of women to
skeptical wider audiences that are largely at odds with the interests
of prisoners and activists' own long-term goals of abolitionism. In
the process of negotiating these dilemmas, I argue that it is
imperative for activists that they see themselves, and are seen by
others, as credible advocates for the needs and interests of
incarcerated women, who are silenced and made invisible by a
racialized and class-based penal system. To legitimate themselves,
activists use multiple organizational frames, some of which are in
direct opposition to one another and the group's ideological base. I
examine the ways in which activists in this organization continually
negotiate such contradictions.

This work begins by providing an historical overview of prison
activism. I argue that the women's prison reform movement of the late
nineteenth century and the radical men's prison movement of the 1960s
serve as important precedents for contemporary prison activism.
Subsequent chapters examine the dilemmas that activists face when
interacting with one another, prisoners, and wider audiences, and the
ways in which they negotiate these dilemmas to establish feelings of
credibility. I conclude by examining the theoretical and empirical
implications of this work.

1) Hart, Jeni. Mobilization among Women Academics: The Interplay between Feminism and Professionalization. NWSA Journal. Spring2008, Vol. 20 Issue 1, p184-208.

2) An older article but may be useful... Knapper, Karl. Women and the Black Panther party. Socialist Review; 1996, Vol. 26 Issue 1/2, p25-32.

3) Hutchinson, Susan L.& Wexler, Blair. Is “Raging” Good for Health?: Older Women's Participation in the Raging Grannies.Health Care for Women International; Jan2007, Vol. 28 Issue 1, p88-118.
This article talks about the health benefits that women participating in the Raging Grannies organization are experiencing. More a physician's study rather that cultural/social.