This is a publication of materials, a small selection of the papers presented by researchers and activists at the International Conference – Manifold Angles of Gender: Looking through a Magnifying Glass, organized and hosted by the South Caucasus Regional Office of the Heinrich Boell Foundation.
Social sciences are against the generalizations; therefore, in this introduction we cannot state that the four countries represented in the publication have common problems, or the described problems have the same origin. However, one can trace similar dynamics even at the first glance. First of all this is defined by the shared communist history and strengthening process of the nationalistic discourses in all presented countries in early 1980-ies, which was constituent of different, but yet with similar aim, national movements.
For one thing, it is obvious that the publication represents only a small part of the vast spectrum of the problems; it does not claim to be self-sufficient but the sharp accents and the right choices of the authors allow certain generalization. For example, strengthening of the religious wave in all three countries during last decades is obviously similar – which, in its turn seems to be a logical part of the mentioned nationalistic discourses, as religion is almost the strongest constituent of the revived mythologized national identities. Its role has grown so strong that it even questions secularism of the states.
One can observe how this background intensifies the mistrust to gender activism; how it is labeled as “imposed” and “imported.” On mentioning activism, it should also be noted that the authors of the articles are activists paralel to their work in academia in some cases; they work on daily basis on gender issues, women’s and LGBT rights. It is no surprise, as feminism, and later gender sciences, were born from the activism dictated by necessity social changes. Therefore, our authors are not satisfied with abstract theoretisizing and discuss the problems based on their experience.
The goal of the conference organized by the Heinrich Boell Foundation to see the ongoing processes in our countries from different angles, and share experience with each other; despite differences, the similar dynamics is still evident in our countries. Activism should be supported by theory and vice versa. Hopefully, the presented collection of articles will contribute to achievement of this goal and will serve to wide range of researchers and activists.
Editor in Chief