Research Project II: Gender relations in authoritarian and hybrid regimes.

Despite global democratization processes, autocratic and hybrid systems of government continue to be a part of political reality. A quarter of all nation-states and a third of the world population are currently governed in the form of monarchies, presidential autocracies, family autocracies, military juntas, and semi-democratic systems that are either authoritarian or democratically limited or deficient.
Against the backdrop of political consistency of autocracies, the political science research is currently increasing its attempt to grapple with the structures and institutions of authoritarian systems, their core characteristics and functional logic, as well as their mechanisms to sustain the system. Hardly any importance is given to the effects on social (gender) relations and their role in sustaining the system. Up to this point the question of the constitutive relation between autocracies, as well as defective democracies, and the establishment of gender relations as social power relations has not been raised and systematically researched from either a genuine or a feminist political science perspective. This research desideratum represents a substantial impediment for the design of successful human rights and gender equality projects in European politics and international cooperation.
Based on the expansion of research on autocracy in terms of gender, the research project aims to systematically analyze the relation between autocracies and the establishment and constitution of gender relations as social power relations in a theoretical and empirical sense. The focus of the planned project is the examination of the interdependence of authoritarian and provisorily democratic, political social structures and gender relations, with particular attention to the effects and consequences for the political, social, and economic status of women. Specifically, it deals with the study of the relation between autocracies and hybrid political systems and the establishment of gender relations as social power relations that prevent sustainable social democratization by systematically impeding widespread participation of women in public life, if not making it completely impossible. From an empirical view the question of the regime influence as an institutionalized, socio-political context on women's participation in public life in the economic, scientific and political sectors comes to the forefront. Here the political-institutional context conditions are conceptualized as an independent variable and the women’s opportunity to participate and their structure of chances as a dependent variable. Furthermore, the extent to which transition processes and processes of system change are accompanied by a renegotiation of gender relations should be examined, for example, in the case of a transformation from an authoritarian system to a democratic one.

Activities Implemented and In Progress:

1. Special topic issue of Femina Politica

Publication of a special topic issue in the Femina Politica. Journal of Feminist Political Science on the topic: False sense of security. Gender relations in authoritarian regimes. Femina Politica. No. 1/2012, 21st yr. (Prof. Dr. Gabriele Wilde and Dr. Silke Schneider).

2. Panel/Department of Comparative Politics

At the annual conference of the Department of Comparative Politics by the German Association of Political Science in Marburg on 31 March 2012 – the organization and implementation of a panel on the topic: Authoritarianism, "Reloaded" or obsolete? A return to the traditional gender relations in authoritarian regimes (organizers/contributors: Prof. Dr. Gabriele Wilde, Prof. Dr. Annette Zimmer, Stefanie Friedrich, M'phil., Katharina Obuch, M'phil., Dr. Eva Katharina Sarter, Dr. Silke Schneider).

3. Research Proposal

Approved by the Ministry of Innovation, Science and Research of the North Rhine Westphalia region in the context of a national program for gender equitable colleges/program section – gender research funding.

4. Networking/Project Presentation

In November 2013 at the annual conference of the women and gender studies’ network in North Rhine Westphalia, entitled "Questions about the Future and Gender Studies - An Interdisciplinary Research Dialogue," Prof. Dr. Gabriele Wilde and Prof. Dr. Annette Zimmer presented the research focus "Gender Relations in Authoritarian and Hybrid Regimes" to the panel on "Participation, Power, and the Future." Katharina Obuch (MA) illustrated the first results and trends of the project with her research in Nicaragua. Overall, the conference focused on the question of the potential of gender studies with regard to societal challenges and questions about the future.

5. Publications

Wilde, Gabriele/ Zimmer, Annette/ Obuch, Kathrarina (forthcoming): Civil Society and Gender Relations in Authoritarian and Hybrid Regimes. New Theoretical Approaches and Empirical Case Studies, Farmington Hills: Verlag Barbara Budrich.

Wilde, Gabriele (2014): Zivilgesellschaftsforschung aus Geschlechterperspektive. Zur Ambivalenz von Begrenzung und Erweiterung eines politischen Handlungsraumes, in: Zimmer, Annette/Simsa, Ruth (eds.): Quo Vadis? Forschung zu Partizipation, zivilgesellschaftlichen Organisationen und ihrem Management, Wiesbaden: Springer VS, pp. 209-230.

Obuch, Katharina/ Sandhaus, Jasmin/ Wilde, Gabriele/ Zimmer, Annette (2013): "Alles verändert sich, damit es bleibt, wie es ist. Erste Ergebnisse aus dem Forschungsprojekt "Geschlechterverhältnisse in autoritären und hybriden Regimen" am Fallbeispiel Nicaragua. In: Journal des Netzwerks Frauen und Geschlechterforschung NRW, Nr. 33, pp. 48-52.

Wilde, Gabriele (2012): Totale Grenzen des Politischen: Die Zerstörung der Öffentlichkeit bei Hannah Arendt, in: Falsche Sicherheiten. Geschlechterverhältnisse in autoritären Regimen. Themenschwerpunkt der femina politica. Zeitschrift für feministische Politik – Wissenschaft, 1/2012, 21. Jg., pp. 17-28.

Wilde, Gabriele/ Schneider, Silde (2012): Autokratie, Demokratie und Geschlecht: Geschlechterverhältnisse in autoritären Regimen. Einleitung, in: Falsche Sicherheiten. Geschlechterverhältnisse in autoritären Regimen. Themenschwerpunkt der femina politica. Zeitschrift für feministische Politik – Wissenschaft, 1/2012, 21. Jg., pp. 9-16

6.  Instructions

In Winter Semester 2016/17 the two Master courses "On the Political Discourse of the Authoritarian" and "On the Political Practice of the Authoritarian in Europe" were held.

7. Lecture

Wilde, Gabriele: The Tunisian Constitution Between Democratic Claim and Constitutional Reality. Lecture presented at the annual meeting of the Tabarka Association in Wuppertal on 07 april 2014.

"Everything changes, so it remains as it is! - First results of the research project "Gender relations in authoritarian and hybrid regimes". Lecture presented at  the annual meeting of the network of women and gender research NRW "Zukunftsfragen und Genderforschung - An interdisciplinary research dialogue" in Essen on 08 november 2013.

Gender relations in authoritarian and hybrid regimes. Lecture at the annual meeting of the network of women and gender research NRW "Gender Studies at Universities in NRW" in from 30 november to 01 december 2012.

A gender perspective on authoritarianism research. Lecture within the panel: Authoritarianism: "Reloaded" or lapsed? On the retraditionalisation of gender relations in authoritarian regimes at the annual meeting of the section Comparative Political Science of the DVPW on 31. march 2012 in Marburg.

8. Panel at the ISTR Conference 2014: 'Civil Society and the Citizen'

Organization and implementation of a panel at the 11th Conference of the International Society for Third-Sector Research (ISTR) from the 22nd-25th. July 2014 in Muenster on the topic: "Barefoot and Pregnant: Towards the End of Civil Society? Gender in Authoritarian Regimes" (Chairs: Prof. Dr. Gabriele Wilde, Prof. Dr. Annette Zimmer, Contributors: Prof. Dr. Angelika von Wahl, Prof. Dr. Joyce Mushaben; Katharina Obuch, M.Phil. and Alexia Duten, MA; Discussant: Dr. Eva Maria Hinterhuber).

Panel at the DVPW annual meeting 2012: Authoritarianism: "Reloaded" or lapsed?

Organisation of the Panel Authoritarianism: "Reloaded" or lapsed? On the retraditionalisation of gender relations in authoritarian regimes (Gabriele Wilde and Silke Schneider) s at the annual meeting of the section Comparative Political Science of the DVPW on 31. march 2012 in Marburg.

9. Working Papers

Mushaben, Joyce Marie
“I’m here too, Girlfriend…”: Reclaiming Public Spaces for the Gendering of Civil Society in Turkey.
ZEUGS – Working Paper No. 7|2015.

Schneider, Silke
Gender and Authoritarian Regimes – A Review.
ZEUGS – Working Paper No. 6|2014.

Obuch, Katharina
Report: Gender and Civil Society in Nicaragua
ZEUGS – Working Paper No. 5|2014.

Hinterhuber, Eva Maria
Time to tango! Bringing civil society and gender together.
ZEUGS – Working Paper No. 3|2014.

Obuch, Katharina | Sandhaus, Jasmin | Wilde, Gabriele | Zimmer, Annette
"Alles verändert sich, damit es bleibt, wie es ist!" Erste Ergebnisse aus dem Forschungsprojekt "Geschlechterverhältnisse in autoritären und hybriden Regimen" am Fallbeispiel Nicaragua.
ZEUGS – Working Paper No. 2|2014.

Gabriele Wilde | Jasmin Sandhaus
Die tunesische Verfassung zwischen demokratischem Anspruch und Verfassungsrealität.
ZEUGS – Working Paper No. 1|2014.