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Norm Diffusion in Central and Eastern Europe's Domestic Violence Policies

Globalization: Perspectives from Central and Eastern Europe

ISBN: 978-0-7623-1457-7, eISBN: 978-1-84950-510-9

Publication date: 17 July 2007


The international women's movement has always focused on discrimination against women, but only in the past few decades have activists been focusing on violence against women, and within this framework, domestic violence. Global feminist activism found common ground in protecting women from physical, sexual, and emotional abuse. This framework traveled to Eastern Europe with the advent of regime changes there. In post-communist Europe, it took only a decade and a half for the Polish, Czech, Slovak, Hungarian, and Slovene governments to react to domestic and global pressures and establish new definitions and policies regarding domestic violence. However, the feminist NGOs’ definitions and policy recommendations met with limited success. Feminist-inspired norms, such as specific domestic violence courts and distancing ordinances, diffused to a mediocre level of half-hearted official responses in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE). This middle-of-the-road approach attempted to de-gender and thus to de-politicize feminists’ fundamental gender-sensitive claims. A norm diffusion to reach the middle ground took place through a complex set of interactions that involved various types of political actors ranging from international governmental organizations, such as the UN and the EU, governments, international and local NGOs. Analyzing the process of these multiple-level and manifold interactions sheds light on the partially deterritorialized nature of globalization. The development of norms and their difffnousion regarding domestic violence policy also inform us about how democratic processes, efforts to achieve gender equality, and the global context interact in CEE.


Fábián, K. (2007), "Norm Diffusion in Central and Eastern Europe's Domestic Violence Policies", Fábián, K. (Ed.) Globalization: Perspectives from Central and Eastern Europe (Contemporary Studies in Economic and Financial Analysis, Vol. 89), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 253-303.



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