Tag: globalization

Polity podcasts: Sylvia Walby – The Future of Feminism

Walby Future of FeminismSylvia Walby is Professor of Sociology and UNESCO Chair in Gender Relations at Lancaster University. Her publications include Theorizing Patriarchy, Globalization and Inequalities, and Gender Transformations.

I interviewed her recently about her latest book, The Future of Feminism, described by a reviewer as “[a] balanced and thoughtful assessment of the changes feminism has wrought and the challenges it faces”.

1. I began by asking her if she could understand the forces and pressures that created the widespread assumption that we are living in a post-feminist age. [Click here]

2. In her book, Sylvia Walby discusses how feminism has changed form from its early days. I asked her to give me a tour d’horizon of those variant forms here. [Click here]

3. Sylvia Walby contends that the “depth” of a democracy is critical to determining how successfully a feminist agenda can be pursued within it. I asked her to expand on this notion here. [Click here]

4. Despite progress, violence against women remains a problem in many different contexts. Given the range of different interventions – global human rights, international co-ordination, local grassroots – I asked Sylvia Walby if it was possible to assess their relative effectiveness. [Click here]

Sylvia Walby 4

5. If Sylvia Walby had been asked twenty years ago about where she thought the feminist agenda would be today, how accurate would her assessment have been? [Click here]

6. “Promising start, but major challenges ahead” is the heading of one of the final sections of the book. How optimistic is Sylvia Walby that those challenges can be met? [Click here]

To listen to the complete interview, click here.

To watch a short video about the book, click here.

Susan George: Whose Crisis, Whose Future?

Whose Crisis, Whose Future cover Susan George is an internationally renowned political scientist and author of over a dozen widely translated books. She was born in the Midwest during the Great Depression, but moved to France in the 1960s and subsequently took French citizenship. She still lives in Paris.

Susan George achieved prominence in 1976 with her first ground-breaking book, How the Other Half Dies: The Real Reason for World Hunger (available as a free download via this link). After hunger she went on to study debt and poverty, as reflected in books such as The Debt Boomerang and A Fate Worse than Debt.

George is president of the board of the Transnational Institute in Amsterdam, an international network of scholar-activists committed to social change.

Susan George

Before we talked about her new book on our current predicament, Whose Crisis, Whose Future?, I asked her about the values she grew up with. Had the great collective effort made by the US in World War Two been particularly influential? [To listen to this section of the interview, click here.]

Turning to her new book, I asked Susan to outline what her new book was about. Did the crisis of the title go beyond the current financial crisis? [To listen to this section of the interview, click here.]

Susan George

Besides diagnosing the problem, does the book also put forward solutions? [To listen to this section of the interview, click here.]

The diagrams below depict, first, the status quo in Susan George’s analysis, with finance at the centre of everything and the environment only a peripheral concern, and second, the state which Susan George advocates we must move to, and quickly.

Susan George graphic 1

Susan George graphic 2

Susan George

Collaboration in order to bring about change is a key element of Susan George’s prescription. She discusses the need for concerted action here.

Susan George

Already in her first book Susan George was saying “Study the rich, not the poor” and she is saying it still. I asked her why that was so and why the message still needed repeating. [To listen to this section of the interview, click here.]

Susan George

George Hijacking AmericaI asked Susan why she thought that people voted for – and believed in – governments that  didn’t have their best interests at heart. This took us to a discussion of her previous book, Hijacking America and the role of “money, management and media” in shaping our political culture and the shortcomings of the left. [To listen to this section of the interview, click here.]

Susan George

The final question: does Susan Georkge believe we can save the planet while neoliberal capitalism remains the dominant international system? [To listen to this section of the interview, click here.]

Susan George