Feminism and the Power of Law Revisited
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Focusing on femicide, this book provides a contemporary re-evaluation of Carol Smart’s innovative approach to the law question as first outlined in her ground-breaking book, Feminism and the Power of Law (Routledge 1989). Smart advocated turning to the legal domain not so much for demanding law reforms as construing it as a site on which to contest gender and more particularly, gendered constructions of women’s experiences. Over the last 30 to 40 years, feminist law scholars and activists have launched scathing trans-jurisdictional critiques of the operation of provocation defences in hundreds of femicide cases. The evidence unearthed by feminist scholars that these defences operate in profoundly sexed ways is unequivocal. Accordingly, femicide cases have become critically important sites for feminist engagement and intervention across numerous jurisdictions. Exploring an area of criminal law that was not one of Smart’s own focal concerns, this book both honours and extends Smart’s work by approaching femicide as a site of engagement and counter-discourse that calls into question hegemonic representations of gendered relationships. Femicide cases thus provide a way to continue the endlessly valuable discursive work Smart advocated and practised in other fields of law: both in articulating alternative accounts of gendered relationships and in challenging law’s power to disqualify women’s experiences of violence while privileging men’s feelings and rights.
Table of Contents
Preface Carol Smart
Notes on contributors
Part 1 Criminal Law Reform Case Studies
1 Provocation by ‘Sexual Infidelity’─ Diminishing Returns? — Adrian Howe
2 Feminist Dilemmas with Law Reform ─ Victoria, Australia
— Danielle Tyson and Bronwyn Naylor
3 Criminalising Femicide in Latin American Countries: Legal Power Working For Women? — Patsili Toledo
Part 2 Proliferating Sites of Feminist Legal Intervention
4 ‘Being Wrought, Perplexed in the Extreme’ ─ Othello and his Syndrome
— Adrian Howe
5 Fighting Femicide in Turkey ─ Feminist Legal Challenges ─ Daniela Alaattinoğlu and Cemre Baytok
6 The Canadian Femicide Observatory for Justice and Accountability ─ Myrna Dawson
7 Judicial Discourse versus Domestic Violence Death Review: An Australian Case Study — Anna Butler and Emma Buxton-Namisnyk
8 Italian Legal Feminism ─ Engaging with the Power of Law — Ilaria Boiano
9 Legal Education ─ Challenging the Finnish Criminal Law Syllabus — Daniela Alaattinoğlu and Johanna Niemi
10 Finland on Trial ─ Marjo Rantala
Adrian Howe is an associate lecturer, Law School, Birkbeck University, London where she also has a visiting post. She has published widely in the field of sexed violence and is currently developing a Theatre in Education project based on her research on intimate partner femicide cases. The project’s first play, Othello on Trial, has been performed in Melbourne, Australia and London, UK.
Daniela Alaattinoglu is a doctoral candidate at the European University Institute, Italy. She has taught criminal law at the Finnish Police University College and published within the fields of femicide, gender and law, gender violence and human rights. Her LLM thesis was awarded with the annual award for excellence by the Finnish Lawyers’ Association in 2014.
"Thanks to its ability to account for the complexities of the current femicidal context of the globe, this collection of essays is a timely contribution to the literature on femicide as well as feminist legal scholarship."
--Sumru Atuk, Canadian Journal of Women & the Law