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Re-thinking feminism and democratic politics: the potential of online networks for social change and gender equality in Brazil

Matos, C. ORCID: 0000-0001-6304-3591 (2018). Re-thinking feminism and democratic politics: the potential of online networks for social change and gender equality in Brazil. Mediopolis, 7(7), pp. 17-30. doi: 10.14195/2183-6019_7_1


The relationship between women and new technologies has been an important area of research for feminist sociologists and others working with gender and cultural studies (i.e. Gill, 2012; Sassen, 2002), as well as for scholars within the GAD (Gender and Development) empowerment framework (Gajjala, 2003). A significant body of international scholarship on gender and the Internet has also developed in the last decades throughout the world (i.e. Haraway, 1991, 2000; Plant, 1995; Harcourt, 2000; Sandoval, 2000; Sutton and Pollock, 2000), including emerging research in Brazil (i.e. Ferreira, 2015; Natansohn, 2013; Matos, 2017). Many Brazilian women, who do not feel represented in the mainstream media and who struggle to have a voice, have increasingly made use of new technologies for self-expression, civic engagement and political mobilization. This article provides a critical summary of feminist theoretical perspectives on the potential of online communications for women's rights, further sketching a brief case study of contemporary Brazilian feminism and the mobilization around women's rights, particularly in the year 2015. This is done through a discussion of the discursive online practices of websites like Blogueiras Feministas and the NGO Think Olga, part of a wider project (Matos, 2017). Questions asked include how the media can better contribute to assist in gender development, and how online platforms can make a difference. I argue that despite constraints and setbacks, the seeds of a wider transformative influence in the offline world are slowly being planted in a highly fragmented, heterogenous and erratic blogosphere.

Publication Type: Article
Publisher Keywords: cyberfeminism; gender equality; media; Third World feminism; Brazil
Subjects: F History United States, Canada, Latin America > F1201 Latin America (General)
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
J Political Science > JF Political institutions (General)
Departments: School of Policy & Global Affairs > Sociology & Criminology
SWORD Depositor:
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