Elusive Transformations

The Limits of Feminism in European Foreign Policy Discourse
Seminars and Colloquia

Since 2014, several European Union (EU) member states have adopted their own versions of “Feminist Foreign Policy” (FFP). Increasingly, feminist bureaucrats, politicians, activists, and scholars are calling for the EU to do the same. Together with colleagues, Toni Haastrup critically scrutinizes the EU’s claims to feminist actorship by introducing the analytical concept of “Feminist Power Europe.” In employing FPE as a lens, she examines whether the EU can adopt an FFP and if such an approach upholds the transformative potential of feminism. She demonstrates that the EU’s propensity for a transformative feminist foreign policy is limited by the setup of global politics, which continues to be situated in a traditionally masculine environment with prevailing hierarchies as a result of colonialism and racism. In undertaking this work, Haastrup highlights the (unintended) consequences of advocating for the EU to adopt an FFP. The paper concludes by cautioning against the uncritical deployment of “feminism,” especially if it is not accompanied by reflexivity about patterns of exclusion and marginalization within its own boundaries.

Toni Haastrup, a Professor at the University of Stirling, is currently Emma Goldman Fellow at the IWM.

Mieke Verloo is Professor of Comparative Politics and Inequality Issues at Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen and Non-Resident Permanent Fellow at the IWM. She moderated and commented on the Fellows Colloquia. 



Fellows Colloquia are internal events for the IWM Visiting Fellows and Guests.