The political economy of the Weinstein scandal

Ellie Gore, Liam Stanley, Genevieve LeBaron, Remi Edwards, Sylvie Craig, Sophie Wall, Tom Watts

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The scandal surrounding Hollywood mogul and convicted rapist Harvey Weinstein has put gender-based violence (GBV) in the global media spotlight, opening up a wider public conversation about issues of sexual consent, power, and gender in the United States and beyond. In this article, we turn attention to the specific process in which systematic wrongdoing is made public and accountable. How was Weinstein’s abuse made into a matter of public record after being kept private for so long? And how did this snowball into something bigger? We argue that we cannot satisfactorily address these questions without a feminist global political economy (GPE) lens. Specifically, we develop a feminist GPE framework for analysing how GBV is made public or not in the form of scandal. This brings attention to how GBV, including sexual violence in the workplace, is structural, uneven, and constitutive of the global economy; and how scandals are produced through (political economic) power struggles to make public and define wrongdoing. We then apply this framework to analyse the Weinstein scandal and some of its implications. The article’s contribution is twofold: a framework for analysing scandals—including GBV in the workplace—and a feminist GPE account of the Weinstein scandal.
Original languageEnglish
JournalGlobal Society
Early online date23 Feb 2022
Publication statusPublished - 23 Feb 2022


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