Minority Women, Austerity and Activism, Akwugo Emejulu Leah Bassel


(Qualitative) study of minority women’s experience (socio-economic status and activism) in the face of austerity (neoliberal) policies in Scotland, England and France.

→ Highlighting idea: minority women are the first and main victims of economic hardships.

  • “ Apart from being disproportionately affected by the cuts, minority women are also undermined by dominant discourses which can (mis)represent them as either ‘victims’ or ‘enterprising actors.”
  • “Regardless of educational outcomes, minority groups were disproportionately more likely to be unemployed or underemployed”
  • “ unemployment and poverty are defined as the private problem of the racialised poor”
  • Rationalisation of minority groups’ disadvantage “combined with the construction of some racial, ethnic and gender intersections as problematic tends to exclude minority groups, and in particular minority women, from the European public sphere and undermine how they are included in wider social movements and struggles.”
  • “ austerity measures clearly increase minority women’s unemployment whilst simultaneously reducing the scope, coverage and access to public services.”
  • cuts have a detrimental effect on minority women’s activism
    • Janet Newman (2013: 217): difficult for women activists to find time or resources for ‘creative political work’ because ‘cuts in public and welfare services are intensifying the time pressures …making it more difficult to reconcile care work, paid employment, casual work, study, voluntary or charitable contributions and political activity.’
    • “ Scottish Asian worker at a minority women’s organisation in Edinburgh observed, it was only around issues of victimhood that her organisation was consulted by policymakers”
  • Neoliberalism is presented by some (may be white ‘feminists’) as an empowering system for minority women, therefore justifying non-intervention from the state to deal with issues specific to minority women.
    • However: “Several minority women activists … expressed deep scepticism of this approach because they were unconvinced that micro-level enterprising work could have a meaningful impact on the inequalities they experienced such as discrimination within the asylum system, everyday racism in their neighbourhoods and labour market discrimination.”
  • Authors’ suggestion: “Pluralist democratic societies purporting to generate social and political solidarity should have real and meaningful spaces for the politics of minority women who choose to articulate intersectional social justice claims”

Emejulu and Bassel: ‘Minority Women, Austerity and Activism’

Here is an article on ‘Minority Women, Austerity and Activism’ written by Akwugo Emejulu and Leah Bassel:


This article provides us with a good understanding of certain issues specific to ethnic minority women in the face of government economic policies.

summary Samuel Huntington’s ‘Clash of Civilisations’

Here is a good summary of Samuel Huntington’s ‘Clash of Civilisations’, a theory which has shaped International Relations, interpretations of events, and States’ immigration and integration policies: https://www.beyondintractability.org/bksum/huntington-clash

This theory can help us understand contemporary approaches to immigration, more particularly since the events of 9/11. Especially considering the notable argument that Huntington’s theory is actually a ‘self-fulfilling’ prophecy by having influenced politicians and the media in their interpretation of events and of the world (see Bottici & Chaland, 2006)*

* Bottici, C. & Challand, B. (2006) Rethinking Political Myth: The Clash of Civilizations as a Self-Fulfilling Prophecy. Sage Publications: London, Thousand Oaks, CA and New Delhi.

Benjamin Constant on ‘citizenry’


“ Ask yourselves, Gentleman, what an Englishman, a Frenchman, and a citizen of the United States of America understands today by the word ‘liberty.’ For each of them it is the right to be subjected only to the laws, and to be neither arrested, detained, put to death or maltreated in any way by the arbitrary will of one or more individuals. It is the right of everyone to express their opinion, choose a profession and practice it, to dispose of property, and even to abuse it, to come and go without permission, and without having to account for their motives or undertakings. It is everyone’s right to associate with other individuals, either to discuss their interests, or to profess the religion which they and their associates prefer, or even simply to occupy their days or hours in a way which is most compatible with their inclinations or whims. Finally, it is everyone’s right to exercise some in uence on the administration of government, either by electing all or particular offcials, or through representations, petitions, demands to which particular authorities are more or less compelled to pay heed.” *

* Benjamin Constant. Retrieved from: Jennings, J. (2017) ‘Benjamin Constant on the Liberty of the Ancients and the Moderns’. in E Atanassow & A Kahan (eds), Liberal Moments: Reading Liberal Texts., 3, Textual Moments in the History of Political Thought, Bloomsbury Academic, London, pp. 28-34.


This abstract can help us in our reflection on what ‘citizenry’ entails ans its implication in regards with otherness.