Problematizing discourses of feminicide in Guatemala : feminist universalism, neoliberal subject formation and hypervisibility

Ihmoud, Sarah Emily
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In this report I argue that the analytical unit of feminicide must be expanded beyond gender in order to assess the axis of inequality upon which gender violence in contemporary Guatemala is being waged. Intersectionality and a gendered racial formation theory provide a more nuanced basis from which to undertake an analysis of gender violence and feminicide, and the grounds for devising effective long-term strategies for ending violence in its myriad forms. Second, I argue that the increased visibility of feminicide of late in Guatemala, far from being evidence of gradual progress toward addressing the problem, should be read as a sign of the problem‘s deepening, in a new and perhaps exacerbated form. Using historical examples from the Guatemalan women‘s movement, I demonstrate that demands to end gender violence and increase the rights of women, when articulated by the state, have often led not to a diminishing, but a reshaping of patriarchy and other forms of oppression. The Guatemalan state‘s transition towards neoliberal governmentality, and the gendered subject formation that is a part of this process, raise additional contradictions that merit further attention. State-based approaches to women‘s rights and protection should be merely one element of a larger political strategy towards more radical transformations of the state and racial, social and economic inequalities that will end gender based violence in the long-term.