Conference Agenda

Overview and details of the sessions of this conference. Please select a date or location to show only sessions at that day or location. Please select a single session for detailed view (with abstracts and downloads if available).

Session Overview
RN33_02b: Feminist Movements: Mobilizations and limitations
Wednesday, 21/Aug/2019:
2:00pm - 3:30pm

Session Chair: Consuelo Corradi, Lumsa University
Location: BS.3.15
Manchester Metropolitan University Building: Business School, Third Floor, North Atrium Oxford Road

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Construction of the Feminist Consciousness as part of the Collective Identity

Kristína Papcunová

Deparment of Sociology, Faculty of Arts, Charles University in Prague, Czech Republic

The presentation will be focused on the issue of the feminist consciousness which is central in forming a collective identity within the feminist movement. The aim of the study is to elucidate the question of how women develop their collective feminist identification and individuals commit their lives to creating social change.

The development of feminist awareness is closely linked to the process of social frameworks that can be influenced by the transformation of collective identity. Women often internalize the individualistic framework; therefore, problems arising from gender inequalities are often perceived as personal problems that can be solved on an individual level rather than recognized as complex structural shortcomings.

Previous research into framework processes has contributed to the recognition that a significant component of the framework for collective action is a sense of injustice, an important motivation to overcome obstacles and achieve social change. Feminist activists often perceive gender inequalities at multiple levels of private and working life, but on the other hand they see obstacles and problems in areas where they did not have to deal with them personally. Despite the fact that these inequalities do not affect them personally, they feel a high level of empathy and solidarity with women who have to face these problems. These prepositions will be further detailed in the presentation.

Digital Feminist Activism in the Case of the Academic appeal Against Sexual Harassment #akademiuppropet

Lisa Salmonsson

Örebro University, Sweden

In this paper I analyze #akademiuppropet from a digital feminist perspective. Feminist activists are increasingly turning to digital technologies and social media platforms to dialogue, network and organize against sexism, misogyny, harassment and rape (Mendes et al., 2018) and #akademiuppropet is one example where women working in Swedish academic institutions got together to highlight the issue of sexual harassment. Data is gathered through qualitative interviews with 14 women that experienced sexual harassment in academia. During the interviews we talked about what #akademiuppropet and #metoo meant for them, and how they thought it might be a force for change. Results show that the use of social media, as one of many tools in organizing and mobilising the movement, has made it possible to put equal opportunity high on the agenda. This also indicates that many “small whisperings” can be turned into a powerful collective voice – as we have seen with the #metoo movement. Even so, the work is not finished, and we will have to continue to work together in our organizations and with a long-term perspective.

Understanding Contemporary Feminist Participation: Does #metoo Constitute A Counter Public Sphere?

Vittoria Bernardini

Sapienza Università di Roma, Italy

The aim of this paper is to contribute to a theoretical framework to understand current online feminist mobilizations. Focusing on the case of the #metoo movement, I ask whether this can be understood as a feminist “counter public sphere” in the age of digital media.

In her essay “Rethinking the public sphere”, Nancy Fraser discusses some of the limits of Habermas' notion of the public sphere, arguing that it was actually exclusionary in terms of those admitted on the basis of gender, ethnicity and class, and in terms of the type of issues considered of public interest. This led other subordinated groups to form their own alternative publics that functioned as “spaces of withdrawal and regroupment [...] and training grounds for agitational activities directed towards wider publics”. These “subaltern counter-publics” contribute to the expansion of discursive space, including alternative identity-based publics and more comprehensive arenas where members of different groups interact. I therefore aim to explore whether #metoo can be understood as a contemporary form of counter-public sphere. The question is tackled by discussing theoretical contributions on public sphere theory, focusing on feminist critiques, and how they can be applied to this online movement. The application of public sphere theory to contemporary issues is complicated by the pervasiveness of digital media in current political participation. Recent theoretical contributions suggest moving on from the overestimation of the role of rationality in classical notions of the public sphere, emphasising the role of affect and the sharing highly individual and self-motivated interests.

Social Background and Self-confidence Among Young Girls in Norway

Kathrine Skoland, Brita Gjerstad

University of Stavanger, Norway

Nowadays, in the media in Norway, we hear about the “performance society” and how young people, especially young girls, are struggling to be perfect in a range of social areas. This is often considered a problem more relevant for girls than boys, making issues such as low self-esteem among girls a gender related problem, rather than a social class problem. Inspired by the cultural class analysis tradition, we investigate the everyday workings of social class among girls in Norway at the age of 15 in their final year of primary school, a stage in life where big choices about their future is about to be made. We study differences along a variety of indicators on young girls’ well-being between those with different social backgrounds and demonstrate how class (measured by indicators of parent’s income and cultural resources) is related to self-perceptions, mental health and expectations to future in ways that are not beneficial to those who are from families with less recourses. We thus show how class is part of young girls’ identity and how being part of families with less recourses have a negative impact on young girls self-value. We use data from the “UngData” survey on health and well-being among young people in selected regions in Norway.