Representations of Equality: Processes of Depoliticization of the Citizen-Subject

  • Sara Edenheim
  • Malin Rönnblom
Part of the Citizenship, Gender and Diversity book series (FEMCIT)


Present demands for inclusion within the feminist movement are not new; since the 1970s, mainstream feminism has been criticized for giving white, heterosexual women a privileged position. This critique gave rise to the formation of marginalized groups both within feminism and in society in general. Today, however, we argue that the effects of this critique have changed due to changes in political forms of governing; that is, the logic of the market is increasingly replacing the logic of the political and this shift has consequences for feminist politics. Within gender-equality policies in Sweden, political demands are turned into administrative or bureaucratic techniques, depoliticizing gender by turning gender equality policies into checklists and tool kits in order to fit the policy to the prevailing systems of audit and quality assessments. Among feminist activists, the reaction to such depoliticizing moves seems to be a retreat to a stable and safe identity whose political activity consists of demands for ever-more-specific recognitions and inclusions into this very audit system. As feminist activists make claims that fit neatly into a liberal rights discourse, even the activist-subject is turned into a self-regulating subject managing its own success or failure—only here success and failure are based on recognized identities, and hence, different identities are cast into a struggle against each other. Our conclusion is that the depoliticized production of rights claims does not generate challenges to the prevailing political order; rather, there is a risk of re-producing this order, where right-wing identity politics is mobilized as a response to left-wing identity politics, and vice versa.


Gender Equality Liberal Democracy Subject Position Identity Politics Feminist Politics 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sara Edenheim
    • 1
  • Malin Rönnblom
    • 1
  1. 1.Umeå Centre for Gender StudiesUmeå UniversityUmeåSweden

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