Volume 8 Issue 2, October 2011: Thriving On the Edge of Cuts
GJSS 2011, Volume 8, Issue 2 [PDF]
Front Matter and Contributors
GJSS 2011 8:2 [PDF]
Editorial: Thriving on the Edge of Cuts: Inspirations and Innovations in Gender Studies
GJSS 2011 8:2, pp. 9-20. [PDF]
Coarse Offerings: Lessons from the Cambridge Women’s School for Today’s Radical Education Alternatives
GJSS 2011 8:2, pp. 21-40. [PDF]
: In 2009, a group of students and faculty from the University of Leeds created the Really Open University (ROU) in an effort to ‘transform’ the U.K. system of higher education; rather than ‘reproduc[ing] the elite of society’, the ROU believes higher education must be open and accessible to everyone. Their answer to the austerity: Transform the university. Create an educational system that is free and open to all. Forty years ago across the Atlantic, a group of women with a similar vision started the Cambridge Women’s School (CWS) in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The CWS turned out to be the longest-running US free school of its kind, and throughout its history, organizers strove to create a site for learning that reflected the interests and needs of a range of women. Wanting the School to provide a more inclusive and accessible education than the academe, the largely white, middle-class women who ran the CWS tried to attract local women of varying races, ages, sexualities, and education backgrounds. Despite this democratic vision, however, the CWS continuously struggled to attract a student body that was not largely white and middle-class. Why? What stunted the CWS’s attempts at inclusivity? This paper explores these questions and asks how contemporary projects, such as the ROU, might learn from the ‘coarse offerings’ of the CWS, its uneven attempts to create inclusive educational experiences.
Keywords: Cambridge Women’s School, inclusion, radical education alternatives, Really Open University, women’s liberation movement
Taking Care in Academia: The Critical Thinker, Ethics and Cuts
GJSS 2011 8:2, pp. 41-57. [PDF]
: This article raises philosophical and political questions we can ask about how we care for each other in a pernicious academic environment. The article draws upon a personal account of job loss in order to foreground a more theoretical and political discussion of care within an academic context. It is concerned also with ways in which Gender Studies in particular, and critical thinkers in the broader liberal arts context, are supported. Beyond relying on the assertion of market rationale, it may not always be clear how the axing of liberal arts programmes takes place in ethics-related ways. Thus the article addresses care parameters within which the critical practices of scholars takes place.
Keywords: Care, Ethics, Ghetto, Gender Studies, Academia
Don’t Look Back in Anger: Possibilities and Problems of Trans Equalities
Kath Browne and Leela Bakshi
GJSS 2011 8:2, pp. 58-81. [PDF]
: Questioning the ‘new age of austerity’ relies on an (implicit) understanding of a previous era where something other than ‘cuts’ were occurring. During the early part of the 21st century in the United Kingdom, not only did lesbians and gay men gain significant rights including equalities in the provision of goods and services, civil partnerships and so on, by the end of the New Labour era in 2010, ‘transsexual’ had become a legally ‘protected characteristic’ under the Equalities Act.1 Yet these new legislative gains were not uniformly experienced, practiced and deployed. This paper explores the ways in which initiatives played out ‘on the ground’, engaging with the possibilities, as well as the problems, of new equalities landscapes. Using the Count Me In Too research (see www.countmeintoo.co.uk
), we examine progress in trans ‘rights’, whilst simultaneously identifying the ongoing harm trans people experienced through gaining these ‘rights’. More specifically, we critically appraise ‘treatment’ pathways and public funding, arguing that whilst these are positive and welcomed, they are also flawed in their implementation, as well as their conceptual basis. Continuing from this, we contend that critical academies/academics need a spatially informed consideration of ‘new normativities’, while being wary of forgetting the positives while they are happening, and romanticising them when they are in the past.
Keywords: Cuts, Austerity, GP, Doctors, Health Services, Transgender/Transsexual, Transition, Spatial, Homonormativity
Spiritualised Sexuality Discourse: Impacts on Value Judgements
GJSS 2011 8:2, pp. 82-96. [PDF]
: The realm of consumption of the sexual has long been a heated battle-ground for feminists, with the realm of discourse most often centring on how work in the sex trade can be viewed as making women powerful or powerless. Sexuality has in either circumstance been viewed as something that has power in itself, and the inference is often that it has a place of deep importance on a very fundamental level in human nature. Books such as Pornography: Men Possessing Women had a strong effect in feminism and embodied the stance that sex is the channel through which power is most strongly wielded (Dworkin, 1981). More recently, Arial Levy (2006) has critiqued the sex industry in the wake of the third-wave movement, suggesting that the sale of sex is merely a route towards further subjugation in the guise of liberation. Many theorists disputing these ideas do so from the stand-point of a spiritualised sexuality, which suggests that bringing the sexual more fully into lived experience as a whole can be a liberating and spiritually healthy experience (Sprinkle, 2001). Neither of these ideologies give a voice to women who may simply feel that their body can be used in many different ways to provide labour to generate an income. These means can range from stacking shelves, to providing sex for a paying customer – the ability to separate one’s emotions concerning the sexual may not be a pathology in these circumstances, it may be a useful technique for making money.
Keywords: sexuality, sex work, sexualisation, discourse, media
Peripherealities: Porous Bodies; Porous Borders. The “Crisis” of the Transient in a Borderland of Lost Ghosts
GJSS 2011 8:2, pp. 97-113. [PDF]
: The aim of the paper is to investigate the position of the transient in its il/legal immigrant, colonised, refugee forms, particularly through the mestiza. These porous bodies exist in a world that attempts to create borders, both physical, legal and geographical, which has lead to an increasing number of spaces where states of exceptions preside and a borderland consciousness has emerged. These marginalised and liminal spaces deserve analytical attention not only for what they reveal of the people that exist within them but, also, what they expose of the people who exist outside of the liminal.
The human is clearly not conceived within human rights as these “rights” are not equally given over to all human beings. It would seem that one is only truly human if others recognise the individual as human; therefore, humanity is conditional and not guaranteed. Agamben’s notion of the homo sacer, Avery Gordon’s ghost and Achille Mbembe’s shadow are all theories explicated in this paper to define those marginalised, subjugated and cut off from a world of human recognition. Using Agamben’s state of exception and camp, Mbembe’s colony, Anzaldúa’s borderland and Coutin’s space of nonexistence, the spaces and states in which those without rights are situated are analysed and revealed to demonstrate the sheer number of those considered sub-human, non-human or homo sacer. The paper concludes with a suggestion of how human rights and equality can be bolstered through a post-humanist feminism based upon Braidotti’s philosophical nomadism via feminist protest and Andzaldúa’s autohistorias.
Keywords: borderland, homo sacer, mestiza, state of exception, transient
Intersectionality and the Study of Lived Citizenship: A Case Study on Migrant Women’s Experiences in Andalusia
GJSS 2011 8:2, pp. 114-136. [PDF]
: Two critical perspectives have arisen in the contemporary debate on citizenship. The first applies feminist and intersectional theory to the study of citizenship; the second focuses on the relationship between citizenship and everyday life, therefore developing a micro-sociological perspective on ‘lived citizenship’ (Lister et al. 2003; Lister 2005). Drawing on a theoretical framework which encompasses these two innovative directions in citizenship studies, the paper presents the main results of ethnographic research on migrant women’s everyday lived experiences of citizenship in the Spanish region of Andalusia. The analysis focuses on the experiences of these subjects in relation to intimate and family life, thus providing an example of an analysis of what has been called ‘intimate citizenship’ (Plummer 2003). The research, carried out between 2007 and 2010, involved 40 activists from 27 migrant women’s groups based in Andalusia, from both Third Countries and EU-27 Countries.
Keywords: Intersectional theory; Lived citizenship; Migrant women; Ethnography; Citizenship studies; Feminist research
The Matrifocal Household: Santería Religious Practice and Gender Relations Explored
GJSS 2011 8:2, pp. 137-148. [PDF]
: This paper highlights gender relations within households in Cuba, with specific focus on ‘matrifocality’ and its intrinsic link to the Cuban religion Santería. I propose that ‘matrifocality’ in this case is not only a response to state controlled efforts to induce gender equality, or historical influences as derived from movements of people in space and time as previously suggested; but it is also directly influenced by Santería, which serves as the main contributor to female empowerment in Afro-Cuban households. It is important to consider the inference of Santería religious practice when discussing gender relations in Afro-Cuban households, not only because of its omnipresence in such families, but also because Santería is considered to be a female normative religion. ‘Matrifocality’ in anthropology has classically been described as household formations recurrent in ‘poor’ neighbourhoods, mainly in North American slums, that are female-headed simply because of the lack of a dominant male presence. In contrast to this view, I argue that ‘matrifocality’ in Afro-Cuban households can be defined as female-headed, where husbands are present and active in decision-making, yet ultimately economic and social power resides with women. This, as I will argue, is a structure that is directly linked to the everyday practices of the female-centered religion Santería.
Keywords: Cuba, Matrifocality, Santería, Afro-Cuban households, Gender relations
Interrupting Research: Ethnography of a Research Encounter with the Bororo People in Central Brazil
GJSS 2011 8:2, pp. 149-165. [PDF]
: This essay dialogues with feminist debates around ethics, epistemology and methodology. It analyzes the ‘failure’ of my research encounter with the Bororo people in Central Brazil. The essay uses the Brechtian theatrical concept of ‘interruption’ to scrutinize the empathic assumptions which inform feminist methodologies. It also demonstrates how ethical research opens a fruitful space for dialogue between researcher and researched. The relationship between researcher and researched is discussed in relation to the implicit hierarchies inherent in the global/local dichotomy. Using the insights of feminist epistemology, the essay ascertains the significance of feminist scholarship to the advancement of a more dialogical epistemology.
Keywords: feminist methodology, hierarchies of global and local, researcher and researched positionalities
Queering Translation: Transcultural Communication and the Site of the “You”
GJSS 2011 8:2, pp. 164-179. [PDF]
Abstract: Translators are often construed as mere intermediaries in transcultural com- munication, doing little more than transferring packages of meanings that have been unambiguously defined by other parties that really matter. However, translation is hardly innocent, and translation is hardly powerless. Translators produce texts and thereby identities/realities, and this text/identity/reality pro- duction cannot happen without interference/intervention from all participants in communication (which includes those parties that are usually theorised as passive, such as translators or recipients). Submission to hegemonic dis- courses is not a neutral non-decision, but a political act. Therefore, translators take part in the construction of identities. Transcultural communication is an ideal site to expose the cultural constructedness of identities/realities, thereby deconstructing these identities/realities and enabling allegedly passive recipi- ents to see through and behind social constructs.
Keywords: translation, transcultural communication, queer theory, identity construction