Gendering Resistance: Multiple Faces of the Kurdish Women's Struggle

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7 Scopus citations


The article explores the Kurdish women's movement in Turkey by bridging two forms of resistance: those of guerrilla women fighters and of activist women. Based on my extensive ethnographic and archival research, I ask how women under conditions of war engage in different modes of resistance. In what ways does the “heroic resistance” of guerrilla women resonate with and/or contradict the everyday, “ordinary” struggles of activist women? The potent image of the Kurdish guerrilla woman that emerged in the early 1990s is constitutive of many other modes of political subjectivities, even among women who do not or cannot become guerrillas. One of those subjectivities is that of the activist woman. My analysis suggests that women's activism opens up a middle ground of action between “heroic” and “ordinary” resistance by reconciling revolutionary politics with everyday activism around gender-based violence, democracy, and human rights. Although both revolutionary movement participants and scholars of revolutionary resistance often contrast the “ordinary” with the realm of armed resistance, this article challenges this dichotomy. I take the two realms of resistance—the ordinary and the heroic—as the core constituents of revolutionary resistance, and I reconsider the gendered interplay between them.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1112-1131
Number of pages20
JournalSociological Forum
Issue numberS1
StatePublished - Dec 1 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Kurdish women's activism
  • Turkey and the Middle East
  • heroic and ordinary resistance
  • resistance politics
  • revolutionary women
  • social movements

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science


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