Bringing Transnationalism Back In: On Gender Politics in South Africa’s China Interactions
Bandung-inspired South–South solidarity frames are constitutive for recent African–Asian relations and include a perception of harmonic state–society relations. Civil society is assumed to contribute to the development and maintenance of “eye-to-eye” relations among Southern states. Contrary to these expectations, the analytical focus on African–Asian civil society relations foregrounds differences and contradictions in both the conceptions and political implications of African–Asian solidarity. In this context, the recourse to the field of China–South Africa gender politics, which we undertake, is especially telling for two reasons. Firstly, gender politics has been one of the most vibrant areas of transnational as well as transregional civil society since the World Women’s Conference in Beijing in 1995 gave weight to (South) African–Asian gender networks. Secondly, feminist responses to African–Asian transregionalisation remain critical and insist on experiences and norms of feminist transnationalisation. The widespread attitude of “feminist abstention” to China–(South) Africa relations, which we read as a challenge to the solidarity narrative without breaking its mould, provides solid empirical evidence for this assumption.
KeywordsCivil society China Gender politics South Africa South–South solidarity Transnational feminisms
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