Discursive structures of the state Anti-feminist discourses in Azerbaijan


  • Naming Karimov, MA, Azerbaijan Tourism and Management University, Azerbaijan


The discursive regime, gender, women's rights, anti-feminist discourse.


Azerbaijan, one of the former USSR republics, has been confronted with various transformations under the influence of nationalism, religious issues, political and other global ideologies, including identity problems. The first 25 years of the Republic in Azerbaijan were perceived as a transitional period, and the signs of the society's rapid liberation and modernization efforts came to the fore in these periods of change and transformation. Along with freedom and modernity, some conservative ideological movements that can be considered new to Azerbaijani society have also begun to emerge and have influenced some segments of the society for the last 30 years of the Republic.               Considering the rise of anti-feminist gender policies under the conservative administration, also called the discursive regime, this research discusses how the members of the parliament in Azerbaijan interpret feminism, gender policies, and gender-based identification as essential figures and directly affected by the discursive regime in the public sphere. In this context, empirical answers were obtained by applying the critical discursive analysis method to the research question: How does the conservative and anti-feminist discursive regime affect the discourses related to gender issues in parliamentary speeches?               The primary purpose of this study is to learn the empirical facts and shreds of evidence obtained from the parliamentary speeches that paved the way for learning the anti-feminist discourse in the Azerbaijan parliament (Milli Majlis). On the other hand, the theoretical aim of the study is to examine the anti-feminist discursive practices covered by some expressions that create discourse with the features we have determined in the concept of anti-feminism. For these purposes, the gender policies of the government and political figures and then the anti-feminist tones based on the parliamentary speeches about gender issues were examined by Foucauld’s critical discourse analysis method. In this regard, we have aimed to make an academic contribution to literature in feminism studies by investigating the problem of constructing an anti-feminist discourse through specific discursive structures of the state in our study.               First of all, in order to create the prominent themes of anti-feminist discourse in Azerbaijan, the gender equality struggle of NGOs and especially feminist movements throughout the country since the birth of the republican period after the USSR was analyzed comprehensively, and the general structure of anti-feminist discourse as a concept was determined. The second part investigates the working mechanisms of the discursive regime, the anti-feminist discursive structures of the state, and the discursive processes it performs on both the specific structures it influences and the society. In the third part, the period from 2010 to 2020, that is, the period when local NGOs and feminist movements were actively involved in the political arena, was investigated in order to determine the effects of the patriarchal state system and the conservative discursive regime in parliamentary speeches. In this regard, gender, women’s rights, cases of domestic violence, and all relevant themes in the diaries of the parliament were identified and coded, and the data were processed until the new themes or insights emerged, that is, until the answers to the research questions was saturated. In this context, the exact areas of discursive regime’s influence, the level of influence provided to these areas, and alteration of the methods were analyzed in specific periods between 2010-2020. Consequently, this article avoids explaining the concepts. It presents the findings of qualitative research on the speeches of the members of parliament in contemporary Azerbaijan Milli Majlis on gender issues in December 2020 for the first time after the rise of the feminist discourse.