"Ni una más": An exploration on how social movements against gender-based violence in Mexico influence policy development and community culture

Lead Research Organisation: University of Bath
Department Name: Social and Policy Sciences


This project contributes to the research literature in the public policy and political sociology areas that attempt to further the understanding of the interaction between changes in public policy and the demand of social movements. Although theoretical research has suggested potential contributions on the 'co-construction of policy', empirical research has been largely fixated on the visible impact of social movements on policy. This research project goes a step further by examining the process of 'translation' of social movement practices into the law and policy. Specifically, it attempts to bring to policy formulation crucial aspects of the social reality of gender-based violence that are currently being overlooked by policymakers but have been mobilised by social movements. As a result of this analysis, the research will elaborate and suggests potential strategies to attain a better translation of civil society practices into new institutions, policy and legislation.

The project is focused around the topic of violence against women in the context of Mexico by looking at two main populations: policymakers from Congress or legislators and a social movement group advocating for the end of gender-based violence in Mexico, "Ni una mas". Primary research will be undertaken in Mexico city attempting to design focus groups with members of both populations as well as later organise one to one interviews with those participants who opt to continue participating.

This research draws from the emerging field of the sociology of human rights and from feminist theories of gender and power. The thesis will look at Marx's theory of social reproduction, as reviewed by Federici (2004) and Bhattacharya (2013) and will also conduct a critical review of recent theories of social movements, drawing specifically from the political opportunity structure approach (POS). Another key concept that will be utilised to understand the shortcomings of current policy development is the idea o co- construction. The notion of co-construction is understood as the participation of civil society in the defining and drawing up of social policies. Some elements of the social reality of gender-based violence cannot be "translated" into policy by state agents alone. In the case of these "untranslatable social elements", policymakers require the input from social movements' principles and concepts, adding a new dimension to policy.

In summary, the aim of this research is to investigate the influence of social movements against gender-based violence in Mexico on policy development and society. The objectives of the project are:

1. To generate empirical data on the interdependent relationship between social movements and policy development, by:
- Critically evaluating the current gender-specific policy to establish the rationale for its development, social views and strategies of implementation.
- Understanding the social strategies, principles and advocacy approaches adopted by social movements and their relationship to current policy.
- Critically assessing the influence of these social movements on society.
2. To provide an in-depth, critical literature review to investigate whether social reproduction can explain the systematic gender-based violence in Mexico.
3. To develop empirical results into a theoretical framework to improve understanding of the benefits of the co-construction of gender-specific policy.
4. To support policymakers, social movements, NGOs and community activists in the design and development of alternative social policies.


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
ES/P000630/1 01/10/2017 30/09/2027
2095358 Studentship ES/P000630/1 01/10/2018 30/03/2022 Maria Jose Ventura Alfaro