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In recent decades, “post-feminism” has become a recurrent theme and a buzzword of sorts in a variety of settings, from academia and politics to media discourses and popular culture. After decades of scholarship and public debate on the matter, the task of delimiting the boundaries of what “post-feminism” means seems intellectually futile, particularly because the ambiguity of the term is what makes it intriguing and compelling as a frame of analysis.
In a particularly relevant interpretation, scholars of gender have taken post-feminism as promising conceptual lenses with which to interrogate the (un)doing of gendered subjectivities in our contemporary culture, where intersectional inequalities are (re)produced amidst the neoliberal celebration of individual agency and empowerment, as predicated on consumption and commodification of gender difference.
This Research Topic intends to intervene in this ongoing debate by focusing on the practices, subjectivities and intimacies that are shaped by post-feminist cultural and political formations, whatever these may mean across the globe, and in diverse social, cultural and political contexts. A significant body of scholarship interrogating the notion of post-feminism from the standpoint of the Global North already exists. Although we are open to new work that pushes those debates further, we are specifically interested in research that critically engages with the complexities of post-feminism from Global South perspectives . We are, therefore, keen to emphasize research that looks at the agentic subject – the politics of intimacy and gender-making in the everyday – as an object of analysis alongside, and not separated from, the more structural dimensions of discourse, representation, political culture and neoliberal governmentality.
We will especially welcome interdisciplinary interventions combining elements of cultural studies, feminist critique and media analysis with methods and analytical frames from the social sciences. A primary goal of the special issue is to encourage transnational research centred in and around the Global South and create a platform for extending our understandings of post-feminisms beyond existing western frameworks. Consequentially, we will be particularly committed to supporting early career scholars based in the Global South, including those publishing academic work for the first time.
The Research Topic will address the following indicative, but not exhaustive, themes:
Transnational Thinking: we intend to encourage transnational scholarship. This means not only that we will privilege contributions on contexts and societies commonly “understudied” and underrepresented in hegemonic academia, but also we welcome contributions taking a transnational, comparative or diasporic approach to social research in the broad field of gender studies.
Intersectional Post-feminism: we wish to give full attention to the ways in which postfeminist practices, identities and intimacies intersect with race, ethnicity, indigeneity and caste, including practices of resistance to oppression organised along such lines, in order to develop fuller understandings of how neoliberal femininities explicitly matter in relation to racial identities and racialized experiences of life.
Gender (as) Performance: we want to start from a conception of gender as performed and performative, and gender as fluid: with post-feminism being a useful theoretical tool for exploring how gender intersects with neoliberal power and material culture in specific ways.
(Un)doing Femininities: we invite an expansive and inclusive understanding of the feminine to include all femininities, in particular trans-femininities, in order to explore what the pre-fix "post" means in relation to this inherent diversity. In doing so, we explicitly reject the narrative preferred by cis-feminist exceptionalism.
Agency and Subjectivity: we are interested in how performed gender (understood as contained within the post-feminist sensibilities prioritised by neoliberal capitalism as articulated by Rosalind Gill and others) intersects with identity, subjectivity and agency.
Intimacy and Self-Fashioning: we welcome interventions on how performed gender relates to the intimate, in terms of bodies, relationships and senses of self, and how these are shaped by tangible practices embedded in everyday life, theorised as “self-fashioning.”
Sexist Revivals: we are interested in how the current wave of right-wing politics and anti-feminist backlash sweeping the world poses critical and specific questions to post-feminist dynamics and imaginings in these contexts, including by encouraging sexist revivals and reactionary understandings of gender and gender roles.
Queering Post-feminism: we want to explore the ways queer and post-feminist formations shape practices, subjectivities and intimacies in the Global South, especially in the context of longstanding intersectional patterns of exclusion (including class, race, and caste) and in light of the neoliberal emphasis on inclusion through consumerism.
Keywords: post-feminism, gender, consumption, neo-liberalism, subjectivity, intimacy
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