What binds all contemporary struggles for the advancement and consolidation of democracy, while guaranteeing and extending rights and freedoms is, undoubtedly, feminisms. Whether as a social movement or through the power of contributions from highly diverse authors, feminisms today are at the vanguard of thought on creating new spaces and broadening the field of action of ideas in the struggle for a fairer, more democratic future. As a plural, crosscutting movement, it questions the foundations of the current social and political structure, mobilising and proposing transformational alternatives at all levels.

The recent 8 March strikes have marked a turning point, as have the global online #MeToo and sister movements around the world. Visibility of the discourse has spread and numerous voices now talk about a new wave of feminism whose impact is greater than at any other time in history, while it has also grabbed the attention and significantly determined the global agenda.

Yet despite these advances, the patriarchy is counter-attacking as it finds its hegemony under threat. The reaction comes in the form of far-right and populist neo-sexist discourse, demanding the return of ‘traditional roles’ for women that are subservient to dominant interests and questioning the gender perspective in the analysis of power relations and social, cultural, economic and political structures. Nevertheless, however much it tries; this discourse cannot hide the brutal, painful truth: at the time of writing this editorial, 49 men have murdered their partners in Spain, a figure that already exceeds the total for the whole of 2018. This is a devastating indication of the inequalities, abuse and aggressions that feminism has uncovered. 

Feminisms today are at the vanguard of thought on creating new spaces and broadening the field of action of ideas in the struggle for a fairer, more democratic future

In considering these issues, at IDEES we wanted to explore feminisms in all their complexities in order to answer the doubts we raised at the start of the project: What is the subject of feminism today? Can we continue to talk about feminism in the singular? What are the effects of its greater visibility and central role? What debates does it encompass? What topics does it prioritise? What does it leave in the dark and what disruptive force restricts it? What does it mean now that institutions, including the Government of Catalonia through this journal, want to adopt feminism? What are the consequences? Who does it benefit?

Aware of the constant need to consider the possible answers opened up by these questions, we have weaved an issue that aims to be radically contemporary and thus intentionally controversial. We do not hide our position, our starting points. Not doing so is an innate aspect of feminism: for instance, we have no interest in hiding our understanding of feminism as a struggle that rejects the fixed categories of identity established by the patriarchy and as a space for caring, which to do everything it needs can to continually expand its frontiers. Hence, we do not hide the fact that our voice comes from the stormy, politically and socially complex situation in Catalonia, where numerous intermittent struggles have been unleashed, whose influence, impact, vision and demands on the world have taken on a feminist perspective.

At the same time, we have created space and thrown light on certain voices and topics all too often kept hidden, yet whose presence, visibility and voice are essential. Thus you will find contributions that are often dismissed or even silenced and repressed by established powers or even by other feminist comrades. We realise that we could not fit all feminist topics and voices in this monograph: some did not want to be included while others could not. There are some we could not find, others we did not want to repeat and maybe even voices we did not look for as we did not realise they existed. We apologise for these deficiencies and would like to thank everyone who has taken part in one way or another. The editorial criteria are obviously not neutral and our position is clear from our choice of participants, but we leave the debates open for those who follow us.

A monograph with different voices

Thus, this special edition took shape through the new thematic areas deployed by feminisms in the plural. Also, most importantly, it outlines specific proposals for changing the political agenda and influencing public policy.

So in the first thematic area, Feminisms: where have we come from and where are we headed?we remember: reviewing the past and recognising the struggles and milestones that today enable us to rethink feminism is an essential task if we are to recognise who we are and what challenges and opportunities we face in the coming years. In reviewing the past we realise the extent to which we need to introduce new perspectives, rethink the present, and, if necessary, redirect our future models of feminism.

In the second area Intersectionalities and alliances, we introduce some of the reflections simmering in the feminisms. We broaden the debate on the woman subject (which has always been broad) by taking into account demands that contradict and problematise the figure of the white European biological heterosexual middle or upper-class woman, with no functional diversity or any deviations from the norm. In considering these contradictions, we need to realise that when feminisms speak in the name of an essentialist and privileged logic of identity, it can end up reproducing the violent logic of the patriarchy.

In the third area, Power, authority and the feminist republic, we offer reflections on power, a concept that has been seriously questioned by feminisms, even when overlooked. Thus we discuss alternatives and possible, although still imaginary, scenarios where power and authority can be understood, seen and, above all, exercised from different feminist perspectives. Along these lines, it is the right moment to demand and explore the urgent need to conceive the Republic and ask what a true feminist republic would be like.

The fourth area, Inclusions, visibilities and opportunities, discusses and talks about what visibility means. We pose questions such as: Would we continue to see, create, communicate and design technologies in the same way if we did so from a gender perspective? What role have women played in these areas? Is it enough just to include a few more women to guarantee a feminist perspective? What bodies do feminisms propose and what opportunities do they generate in these areas?

In Feminist poetics of the body and desirewe focus on key issues directly related to our bodies, affections and desires. We pose questions, challenges and impacts regarding affective relations, their processes and their results in terms of the feminist perspective. What is love outside of monogamy and beyond romanticism? How might we experience disobedient and subversive motherhood? What feminist challenges and potentials are there in reproductive technologies?

In the sixth area we return to another central theme in the feminist debate, Work and care and do so taking into account the voices of some of the protagonists. What does work mean when considered from the perspective of feminisms? What situations and conditions do we work in? What can domestic workers contribute to feminisms? And sex workers? And, above all, what do they demand from us?

In Repressions, exclusions and gender-based violence, we discuss how control, repression, exclusion and gender-based violence are exercised on our bodies and lives in off- and on-line situations. In doing so, we review a number of well-studied issues in feminisms, but also seek to redefine and broaden them. What are the specific traits of online gender-based violence? Is a penal response sufficient? What strategies are proposed by feminisms? How do feminisms interpret political repression and social control? Can feminisms, from resistance efforts to alternatives, provide an antidote to repression?

And finally, in Creation and feminisms, we propose a space to immerse ourselves in some of feminist creators’ key contributions in different fields, based on the firm conviction that creation is, above all, an act and opportunity to question everything. It is art and culture that create the language needed to produce imaginaries of change and opportunities for new spaces for rights and freedoms. We demonstrate this here through poetry, film, literature, art and music.

In the coming weeks and months, we will add new content, interviews and articles to this monograph, with contributions from 30 authors. This edition of IDEES aims to contribute to the debate in feminisms, providing points of view and proposals for public discussion. A contribution that seeks continuity in a debate in motion that still has a long way still to go, in the context of the fragile well-being of our societies and imbalance in the health of our planet. It is in this context that feminist voices propose means of transforming how we relate to others and the world we live in, providing a key contribution towards achieving the urgent substantial change we need. Let there be no doubt: feminisms are an unavoidable benchmark for coordinating personal and relational improvements that favour social change and for incorporating struggles for equality and recognition of differences and particularities into the daily construction of our present and future democracies.

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Núria Vergés Bosch

Núria Vergés Bosch is professor at the Department of Sociology from Universitat de Barcelona. She is a researcher, teacher and technosocial and feminist activist. She is member of Copolis, a university research, training and postgraduate group on Welfare, Community and Social Control, and also of the Interuniversity Institute for Women and Gender Studies (IIEDG). She is mother of a daughter and member of Alia, association of women for research and action, and also of the interdisciplinary seminar of feminist research SIMREF. She is also involved in projects such as La Base, Telenoika and Fxl, and she is co-founder of the Donestech collective. Vergés has carried on multiple projects and publications, and has been coordinator of the 47th issue of the IDEES magazine on feminisms. You can also find her singing.


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Mireia Calafell

Mireia Calafell i Obiol is a writer, poet and cultural manager. She is the co-director of the Barcelona Poesia festival, and carries out various cultural and educational projects in La Sullivan. She is also as an independent researcher. Her poetry has been translated into English, Dutch, Spanish, Arabic and Portuguese, among others. In 2015 she received the prize Lletra d'Or for the best book published in Catalan for her work Tantes Mudes (Perifèric, 2014). She has coordinated the IDEES magazine's issue 47 about feminism(s).


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Pere Almeda

Pere Almeda is the former Director of the Centre for Contemporary Studies of the Government of Catalonia and IDEES magazine. Jurist and political scientist, he holds a MA in Political Science and a postgraduate in International Relations and Culture of Peace. He is also an associate professor of Political Science at the University of Barcelona. He has collaborated and worked as advisor in different institutions such as the Catalan Parliament, the European Parliament or the Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs at the UN Headquarters. Has served as coordinator of the International Project of Sant Pau and Director of the Think Tank Fundació Catalunya Europa leading the project Combating inequalities: the great global challenge.