Politics, as discussed in Chapter 3, has to do with power, or more specifically ‘the (uneven) distribution of power, wealth, and resources’ (Hay 2002: 73), whether material or symbolic. For some scholars this power is circumscribed to specific institutional arenas, such as governments, parliaments and so on, while for others power relations are everywhere. Feminist scholars, in particular, have advocated for the need to study power relations in all social spheres, not limiting political analysis to those arenas that are considered public but rather breaking the boundaries between public and private and exploring power relations in all social contexts and times, in formal and informal institutions. This will allow analysts to grasp existing privileges, hierarchies and inequalities, as well as identify the potential for transformation of unequal relations in ‘the political’. Our own understanding of politics defines it very much as a process rather than as an arena. As Colin Hay suggests (2002: 69), ‘Although they can agree on little else, there is at least some unanimity within the discipline that political analysis is concerned essentially with the analysis of the processes and practices of politics’ (emphasis ours). In this chapter, therefore, we focus on what adopting the five different feminist perspectives signifies for studying politics as process.
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