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Session Overview
RN33_02a_P: Gender, corporeality and the body
Wednesday, 30/Aug/2017:
4:00pm - 5:30pm

Session Chair: Katariina Mäkinen, University of Tampere
Session Chair: Solène Froidevaux, University of Lausanne
Location: PE.1.38
PANTEION University of Social & Political Sciences 136 Syggrou Avenue 17671 Athens, Greece Building: E, Level: 1.

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Masculinity, corporeality and technology: the embodiment of ‘technodesire’ in higher technology education

Andreas Ottemo

University of Gothenburg, Sweden

In this paper, I explore masculine subjectivities articulated in a computer science and engineering (CSE) program at a Swedish university of technology. I focus primarily on norms that articulate masculinity with technology, and consider student culture a particularly important arena to explore in order to understand how certain notions of ‘technomasculinity’ are produced. Theoretically and methodologically, I adopt a post-structural perspective primarily based on discourse theory, as developed by Laclau and Mouffe (1985) and further within ‘the Essex School’ (see e.g. Glynos & Howarth 2007). I also draw on cultural studies, feminist technoscience research and on Butler’s (1988, 1990, 1993) notion of gender, performativity, and the heterosexual matrix. Empirically, the discussion is based on a recently concluded ethnographic dissertation study within a Swedish university of technology. Drawing on a critique that has suggested that gender and technology research often fails to address such aspects, I call attention to the role of passion, desire and (hetero)sexuality in the articulation of masculinity with technology (cf. Henwood & Miller 2001, Landström 2006, Mellström 2004, Stepulevage 2001). I argue that such articulations are particularly salient in the student culture where a ‘passionate student’ subject position is shaped. I argue that technology, corporeality, desire and embodied computer interest are here configured in a manner that derives intelligibility from the heterosexual matrix and contributes to the CSE program’s hetero-masculine connotations.

Keywords: Gender, technology, desire, sexuality, the body, discourse theory, ethnography, higher technology education

The pretext of veil. A research on the conceptions of gender and mixed relations of Islamic young women and men living in Italy

Gaia Peruzzi

Sapienza University of Rome, Italy

Migrant families and second generations play a key-role in present European change concerning gender orders. Their efforts whether to adapt themselves to western mentalities and lifestyles or to preserve their own traditions and identities unavoidably overlap and impact on the struggles on opening or closing gender relations, by reintroducing rigid identities and dichotomies in continuously transforming societies, by contrasting the blurring of boundaries, by proposing new meanings and perspectives in conceiving women and men. So, today several gender images reflecting many different cultures and historical temporalities confront each other in the public sphere.

Very often the women body is not only the symbol but also the physical “place” of these struggles.

This paper presents the results of an empirical qualitative study aimed at exploring the conceptions about gender relations diffused among young people of Islamic origin living in Roma (Italy), in the conviction that it is strongly necessary to know how cultures often perceived as a threat are concretely transforming in everyday relationships with our practices and institutions. The idea is that of using the Islamic veil as a pretext: during semi-structured interviews to a group including both young Islamic women and men, a first question about the habit to wear/not to wear the veil is the pretext to investigate strategic themes, like power of religious precepts in Islamic youngsters lives, parental influence, gender conceptions and stereotypes, meanings of freedom, perception of western women and men, attitudes to mixed relations, feeling towards hosting societies.

Hymen ‘repair’ and male circumcision: a comparison of bioethical and cultural perspectives

Sawitri Saharso1, Gily Coene2

1University of Humanistic Studies, Netherlands, The; 2Dept. of Philosophy and Ethics, Free University Brussels, Belgium.

Hymen reconstruction and male circumcision are both interventions in the body that are not (somatic) medically indicated. Yet, while hymen repair is a contested practice, condoned in the Netherlands, but not allowed in Sweden, this is hardly so for male circumcision. We will first discuss both practices from the perspective of bioethics, investigating whether there are relevant bioethical reasons to approach the practices differently. We conclude that there are some differences that are relevant in a bioethical perspective, yet all in all there is not that much ground to treat them differently. Why then is hymen repair more problematized than male circumcision? We suspect that this is due to social and cultural background factors and risks that are not strictly medical. Both hymen reconstruction and male circumcision are related to cultural and religious notions about the gendered body. We will therefore, secondly, discuss the practices from a cultural perspective and also discuss the perspectives of those directly involved – the people requesting the operations and the one’s on whose bodies they are performed. Thus we aim to explain why both medical interventions are approached so differently and get new insights in how cultural and religious notions on gendered corporealities interpenetrate with bioethical perceptions of the body and what implications this could have, if any, for the bioethical judgement of these practices.

The Usage of Women Body as Sexual Objects in Weather News

Arda Umut Saygın, Şeyda Sevde Tunçbilek

Gazi University, Turkey

Media are treated women with certain traditional patterns and masculine perspectives. We see under-representation and misrepresentation of women in the media. Moreover, in media products it is quite often that women are represented as sexual objects. However, as a media product, news are much more important than the other media products because of its truth claim which creates opinions and shapes perceptions.

This research focuses on the topic of representation of women as a sexual objects in weather news in online media. The problematic of the study is to discuss how come female body has been erotized and presented with a masculine and voyeuristic view in weather news which are relatively less important in comparison to “hard news” and actually based on scientific and rational sources. The point makes the study important is that we are not discussing women representation in “summer themed” weather news which are identified with half-naked woman body and become obvious for a long time; on the contrary, we are focusing on “winter themed” weather news which reports cold weather, rain, snow and wind through erotic photos of women who are unaware of the photo taken.

The theoretical part of the study focuses on feminist theory, concept of gender and women representation in the media. Data for this research will be collected from the “winter themed" weather news from the mainstream online media of Turkey. In conclusion, misrepresentation of women who are exposed to the masculine view will be discussed in the context of tabloidization of news.

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