|About the Book|
This study examines cultural difference and collective action in the context of transnational feminist struggles for global justice. Through critical discourse analysis and performative ethnographic writing, I analyze the discourse of the AssociationMoreThis study examines cultural difference and collective action in the context of transnational feminist struggles for global justice. Through critical discourse analysis and performative ethnographic writing, I analyze the discourse of the Association for Womens Rights in Developments (AWID) transnational forum held in Bangkok, Thailand in October 2005. The forum attracts a diverse range of activists, academics, development professionals, and politicians who come together to discuss, strategize and organize for increased gender and global justice. I draw from my experiences in Bangkok and my critical analysis of the forum discourse to achieve two interrelated goals: to theorize the shifting, hybrid, spatial nature of culture in a global collective, and to identify strategies for collective agency, specifically strategies for reshaping globalization. I argue that culture, difference, and diversity, while valued, are undertheorized in contemporary research on globalization. Diversity in global movements is paradoxically celebrated and cultivated while also being glossed over or taken for granted. In order to correct this conceptual blind spot, in this project I analyze the articulations and representations of cultural difference within the public discourse of the AWID forum.-My analysis reveals that to resist hegemony, AWID members disavow divisions and instead highlight points of connection. A sense of solidarity is constituted by celebrating and forging mutuality through difference. Transcultural solidarity is discursive, not identity-based, and fundamentally collective. This finding requires a rethinking of communication, not as uncertainty reduction, but as connectedness. A significant component to transcultural, global solidarity is the role that space plays. The AWID forum functions as a bridge space between the global and the local. By occupying the paradoxical space of the AWID forum, members model and perform mundane and repeatable resistance to global hegemonic forces. Drawing from these findings, I develop a politics of transculturalism which reframes connections across difference in terms of their political importance, possibility, and utility. To highlight the transcultural dimension of this politics is to conceptualize culture not as bounded and fixed, but rather as profoundly mobile, shifting, intersected and relational. These transcultural connections are both local and global, and must be responsive to the layers of spatiality and power that affect peoples contemporary experiences as women or men, as raced or classed or gendered or otherwise embodied communicators and performers.