Family values

DEC Sustaining ActivismSustaining Activism: A Brazilian Women’s Movement and a Father-Daughter Collaboration
Jeffrey W Rubin and Emma Sokoloff-Rubin
2013, Duke University Press
185 pages, paperback

IN AN UNUSUAL but interesting and ultimately fruitful form of collaboration, father and daughter Jeffrey W Rubin and Emma Sokoloff-Rubin have undertaken a novel form of ethnographic study in which they themselves form part of the methodological framework. In other circumstances, one might ask searching questions about the motives of this form of academic publishing, but Sustaining Activism works precisely because in the context of examining a women’s movement the scholarly value added by a father-daughter team can offer new windows on to the theme. The objective of the book is to offer a more intimate perspective on the political – and personal – dynamics informing grassroots women’s activism in rural southern Brazil. A father-daughter dialogue emerges in which each collaborator retains a distinct voice and opinion as together they engage with the women of Ibiraiaras and Sanaduva in their homes and meeting places. This is a potentially powerful tool, albeit one that cannot be used often, for the activism of women is invariably coloured by the relationships they maintain with their menfolk, not least fathers, in a society that remains male-dominated and highly macho. Inevitably, a father will have a different understanding and approach to such themes to a daughter, and so, very cleverly, this duo have provided an extra layer of analysis that can only benefit the reader and scholarship more generally.