Feminist Research Fronts

Feminist Research Fronts

In this issue the topic is feminist research fronts. What are important issues and connections to gender research today? And how does gender research engage with current challenges in our time.

Gender equality as assemblage

by Mia Liinason

This article aims to examine how gender equality is rendered significant and meaningful in different areas of society in Sweden today. In contrast to ambitions to evaluate failures and successes of gender equality policies, I argue that gender equality could be understood as an essentially contested concept, and suggest that «assemblage» is a fruitful notion to use for an understanding of how gender equality is constructed by connections between different concepts. Using a multi-sited ethnographic method, I draw on three empirical case studies to study how gender equality is given significance and meaning in three areas of society: quality development in a state university; the government’s understanding of gender equality; and ideas of gender equality among representatives of civil society organizations advocating for women’s rights. I identify connections between gender equality and other concepts, such as quality, effectivity or women’s rights, and show how these understandings of gender equality are used to shape normalization processes and justify structural inequalities in terms of class, race, ethnicity and nationality. With an ambition to develop a constructive alternative to the dilemmas that appear as a result of gender equality as assemblage, I suggest, towards the end of the article, possible ways to move beyond such a hierarchically differentiating discourse.

Keywords: gender equality, assemblage, affect, neoliberalism, governmentality, subjectivity

Universal Citizenship: A disability perspective

by Inger Marie Lid

This article discusses citizenship in a disability perspective. Today, the term citizen is understood as universal. All human beings are recognized as citizens with rights and duties. However, feminists have argued that the conception of citizen is heavily influenced by male stereotypes. Next, feminism has been criticized for not including disability as a dimension of the critique. Thus, the term citizenship must be reconsidered and reformulated in light of human plurality. In this article I discuss how citizenship can be understood as universal. I begin with a short historical overview of citizenship in a western contexts and then focus on gender and impairment/(dis)ability as categories. Next I unfold gender and (dis)ability as complex phenomena and identify two dilemmas in relation to the intersection of these categories, selective abortion and the need for care. In the last part of the article, I offer an understanding of universal citizenship inspired by Martha Nussbaum’s Capabilities Approach. Care, support and accommodation for citizenship are crucial for practicing citizenship. I argue that citizenship as universal should be understood and practiced as relational. Citizens live in relations characterized by often asymmetrical interdependency.

Keywords: citizenship, (dis)ability, gender, intersectionality, capabilities approach, relational citizenship