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Promoting institutional change through State-society interactions: Reflections on the impacts of feminist movement and government relations in Paraguay

Grant number: 13/03531-7
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Post-Doctoral
Effective date (Start): July 01, 2013
Effective date (End): September 30, 2013
Field of knowledge:Humanities - Political Science - Public Policies
Principal Investigator:Eduardo Cesar Leão Marques
Grantee:José Eduardo León Szwako
Host Institution: Centro Brasileiro de Análise e Planejamento (CEBRAP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil
Associated research grant:08/57843-1 - Center for Metropolitan Studies, AP.TEM


This project proposes a historical-institutionalist analysis of three gender policies in Paraguay. The selected cases are: Plan de Oportunidades para las Mujeres; Plan de Salud Sexual y Reproductiva; and Programa de Igualdad de Oportunidades y Resultados para las Mujeres en la Educación. Extracted from my PhD dissertation about interactions between feminist movement and some sectors of the Paraguayan State (Szwako, 2012), this research elaborates on our previous conclusions and investigates two additional cases. Looking at "gendered" policies and at State-society interactions, it focuses on relevant dimensions and variables for understanding whether and how the relations between movement organizations and institutional authorities impact on the dispositions of the latter. Based on the literature produced by historical institutionalism, the project suggests that actions and interactions of social movements, as it happens with institutional actors, do not take place in a tabula rasa. On the contrary, institutional inheritance and arrangements delimit policy dynamics in i) incorporating a given civil demand; ii) driving institutional direction and changes; and iii) regulating capacity for civil access to the State vis a vis the bureaucratic insulation. In these terms, this project aims at understanding public policies organised around gender issues in Paraguay, not through the lenses of collective action (Cf. Szwako, 2012), but using an explanatory logic centred on the institutional variables mentioned above. The partial results obtained with the analysis of the sexual and reproductive health policy incorporation by the Paraguayan Ministry of Health, demonstrate the improvement provided by an institutionalist approach.

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