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ERIC Number: EJ1142991
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2016
Pages: 5
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: EISSN-1938-9809
Social Justice Activism: Feminism and Strategies for Action
Fernflores, Rachel
Forum on Public Policy Online, v2016 n1 2016
Success in social justice activism often hinges on judging when to employ the most effective strategy for action. Strategies for action include militancy, peaceful protest, and sometimes, engaging in a longer term program of "marginal gains." The militant feminism of many 19th century suffragettes, such as Emmeline Pankhurst, is a good example of the successful use of militancy. Ghandi and Martin Luther King Jr. are clear instantiations of successfully leading peaceful protests to bring about reforms. While militancy and peaceful protest are arguably well-known and well-defined, a developed concept of a marginal gain strategy in the context of social justice activism is not. In this article, the author argues that since the 1990s, feminists in higher education and more broadly have largely taken a marginal gains approach to improving the circumstances in which women and girls work and learn. In addition, there have been developments in feminist activism and scholarship that have resulted in marginal decay, thereby setting the movement back. Finally, regardless of the strategy an activist employs, an additional component that is critical to activist success is emotional intelligence. The expression of emotions such as anger, care, and feelings of self-righteousness can all be appropriate and help to achieve success for an activist. However, they do so only when one knows when to be measured, when to be vulnerable, and when to be strident. The author argues that by making explicit to habitual emotional responses to, and expressions of, anger can be part of making an intentional change that can aggregate, with other comparable marginal changes related to emotional intelligence, to bring about significant results. In sum, the author argues that there are two main things feminism today could benefit from: an intentional focus on a marginal gains approach and a greater emphasis on emotional intelligence.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative; Opinion Papers
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A