Feminist institutional politics as a democratizing force at the local level? The case of Barcelona City Council

Autor principal:
Paloma Caravantes González (Universidad Complutense de Madrid)
Emanuela Lombardo (Universidad Complutense de Madrid)
Sesión 3, Sesión 3
Día: jueves, 8 de septiembre de 2022
Hora: 09:00 a 10:45
Lugar: Aula A7 (94)

Gender equality is increasingly challenged in Europe due to the opposition of radical right populist parties and anti-gender movements. This oppositional climate not only threatens gender equality but also the quality of European democracies (Lombardo, Kantola and Rubio 2021; Graff and Korolczuk 2021; Verloo and Paternotte 2018), thus, calling for a higher scholarly attention on understanding feminist institutional politics as a democratizing force. 

Local institutions are particularly relevant to study democratizing and feminist agendas due to their proximity to the citizenry (Roth et al. 2019, Caravantes 2021). Yet, little attention has been given to their role in the current anti-gender political climate. What democratic strategies does feminist institutional politics –both in discourses and practices– articulate at the local level? What are the distinctive features of the local level in these feminist institutional strategies? What can we learn from feminist institutional politics at the local level for addressing the current anti-gender and de-democratizing political climate? 

This paper will address feminist proactive strategies of democratization by Barcelona local government, an interesting laboratory of feminist municipal politics (Cruells and Alfama 2019) after the change that followed the 2011 civil society mobilizations for deepening democracy and the 2015 municipal elections that gave power to civic lists and leftist political coalitions (Lombardo and Alonso 2020). Through the analysis of municipal plans and interviews with key feminist actors, we examine pioneering discourses and practices of Barcelona City Council during 2015-2021. We argue that feminist local politics can contribute to democratize institutional politics to the extent that they propose inclusive-intersectional and participatory democratic discourses and practices.

Palabras clave: Feminism, local politics, democratization, institutional politics, intersectional inclusion, participation.