Reflections of ’neoliberal neo-patriarchy’ in the situation of Hungarian women
The Department of Gender Studies
Zero Week Lecture Series 2018-2019
The concept of ’neoliberal neo-patriarchy’ introduced by Campbell (2014) refers to a specific form of public gender regime (Walby 2011) in which unequal social relations between men and women are fueled by the political project of neoliberalism. As England (2010) noticed previously, the so-called ’gender revolution’ had never come: social inequalities between men and women still exist to a large extent, despite (or rather, because of) the expansion of global market economy. Campbell argues that by the gendered division of labor, the allocation of unpaid care work to women, and the application of both structural and physical violence neoliberalism creates a new form of institutionalized gender hierarchy in the global society. Additionally, some of the recent literatures identified neoliberal neo-patriarchy as the gender regime of illiberal democracies (see Grzebalska and Pető 2018) or highlighted how the European Union uses gender equality policies as neoliberal governmental technique (Repo 2014).
In this presentation, after a brief theoretical introduction, the speaker applies Campbell’s theory and brings some examples from a recent Hungarian research she co-directed. The study of Women’s Affairs 2018 (Gregor and Kováts 2018) aimed to explore what the most important difficulties and obstacles are the Hungarian lower middle class and working class women face. The research found that state is a crucial player in promoting both neoliberal policies and patriarchal relations. Strengthening the patriarchal notion of families with gendered division of labor between men and women might be easier supported if the working conditions of women are worse (and getting worse), hence the sphere of family is desired as a shelter from exploitative labor market. Similarly, gendered consequences of reduction of the welfare services and the budget in the name of neoliberal austerity policies will push the publicly unprovided carework back to the sphere of families where it will mostly be women who will be forced to provide them. The study's findings pose challenging questions to strategies and agendas of local and international feminist activism.
Anikó Gregor (1984) holds an MA in Sociology (2007, ELTE) and an MA in Gender Studies (2011, CEU). She received her PhD in Sociology (2015, ELTE). Currently she works as an assistant professor at University ELTE, Faculty of Social Sciences (Budapest), where she delivers quantitative and qualitative research methodology courses. In her research, she focuses on the sociology of gender. She is the author or co-author of a number of studies examining relations of neoliberalism, feminism and the system of gender inequalities. Earlier she was in charge of a research group at ELTE, which examined the presence of sexism and sexual violence myths as well as the experience of sexual or other sexual-based forms of violence among the students of the university. She is a frequent commentator of gender related issues in the Hungarian media.