Phoebe Martin (UCL) - 2017-18 Students

Culture as protest: the uses of writing, art and performance to tackle cultural gender norms in Peru

How have women in Peru used cultural contestations to challenge dominant discourses? Cultural forms of protest, or ‘cultural contestations’, have long been crucial in allowing marginalised groups, particularly women, to provide alternative and oppositional narratives. My project looks at how cultural contestations have been used by women in Peru; comparing how cultural actors, activists, mainstream media, and the state construct narratives in relation to sexuality, the body, motherhood, and sexual violence.

Culture, such as writing, art and performance, plays a part during periods of mobilisation, but also during times of abeyance. While NGO-based activism that pursues state-centred goals has an important role to play, it is also crucial to look at contestations that function on the level of culture when challenging cultural norms. In this way we can see how women can use culture to amplify their voices in their full diversity.

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