In gender studies we often struggle with the question of how to study gender without reinforcing gender binary, how to undo the stereotypical understanding of women and men, or femininities and masculinities. On the one hand, in the studies of gender and working life, we need the statistics that show for example the number of women and men in different hierarchical professional positions or the pay gap between women and men. Though the questionnaires behind the statistics more and more include the possibility to choose more than two genders or to un-choose gender completely, the statistically relevant genders remain women and men. These statistics are of course important when we want to study and discuss the structural inequalities in working life.
In Nordwit, the focus on gender is mainly on how our study participants experience gender in their everyday (working) life. With our qualitative materials, we can interpret how gender is done in the interviews and workshops, like which themes does gender entangle with and how. However, to understand and develop the methodology of how to study and make visible how gender is undone or not going on, or how is it becoming with, in empirical projects, is still quite challenging. To tackle the issue, we are organizing a stream called “Beyond the gender binary: Empirical research and conceptual developments in times of transformation” in next year’s Gender, Work and Organization Conference at the University of Kent.
In our stream, we consider, for example: is it possible to empirically show that undoing and not doing is what is happening at a certain moment and in a certain place without either reifying old gender binary thinking or downplaying and overlooking the post-feminist rhetorics of equality and individual agency? What are the respective implications for sampling, research design, and data analysis? While established methods of data collection such as interviews, documents, visual analyses and observations are suitable for reconstructing happenings, doings and sayings, those methodological reflections are still under development that aim at reconstructing something that is being avoided, not talked about, forgotten or even set aside.
We are eagerly looking forward to this upcoming discussion next June. We invite you to join us with your theoretical, methodological and empirical reflections of researching doings and undoings of gender as well as other doings of differences.
The deadline for the abstract submission is 1st November 2019.
You can find more information about our stream here and about the conference here.