Conference Agenda

SP04: Sociology, Feminisms and the Future of Global Gender Research - with Elisabetta Ruspini & Rassa Ghaffari and Katarina Giritli Nygren & Angelika Sjöstedt Landén
Wednesday, 21/Aug/2019:
9:00am - 10:30am

Session Chair: Lise Widding Isaksen, University of Bergen, Norway
Session Chair: Consuelo Corradi, Lumsa University
Location: BS.G.26
Manchester Metropolitan University Building: Business School, Ground Floor Oxford Road

Session Abstract

organised by RN33


Millennial Feminisms Between Eastern And Western Cultures. The Case Of Iran

Elisabetta Ruspini, Rassa Ghaffari

University of Milano-Bicocca, Italy

The paper aims to analyse the relationship between Millennials and Feminism today, with a specific focus on the Iranian case. The paper will have two parts. The first one will explain who the Millennials are and their standpoints about feminism and gender equality. This will be done through a scientific literature review and a secondary analysis of existing data. On the one hand, Millennials are generally regarded as the most open-minded and interconnected generation in history, and the most supportive of gender equality and LGBT rights (Taylor, Keeter, 2010; Rainer, Rainer, 2011). The Internet has facilitated the creation of transnational, multicultural and multireligious networks (Messina-Dysert, Radford Ruether, 2014; Llewellyn, 2015; Ruspini, Bonifacio, Corradi, 2018). On the other hand, progress in gender equality seems to have led some Millennials to dismiss the feminist movement, supporting women’s rights and gender equality but not identifying themselves as feminists (GenForward, 2018). The second part will explore the development of feminism discourses and practices in Iran, a challenging example of the tension between Eastern and Western cultures. The analysis is based on a thoughtful examination of the scientific literature and in-depth interviews with Millennials men and women, activists and scholars in Iran. The internal debate between secular and Islamic feminisms is a key point not only for the Iranian society but also for the Muslim ones, more generally, and offers a unique opportunity to discuss the development of the concept and its multiple meanings, stances and effects (Vanzan, 2005; Tohidi, 2016).


Elisabetta Ruspini is Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Milano-Bicocca, Italy. She holds a PhD in Sociology and Social Research from the University of Trento. She is a Board Member of the European Sociological Association Research Network 33 ‘Women’s and Gender Studies’. She is the Scientific Coordinator of “ABCD-Centro Interdipartimentale per gli Studi di Genere/ABCD-Interdepartmental Center for Gender Studies”, University of Milano-Bicocca. Her research interests include: The Social Construction of Gender; Gender Stereotypes and Gender Roles; Gender and the Generation Turnover; Family Change; New Forms of Parenthood; Men and Masculinities; Social Inequalities; Gender and Poverty; Economic Socialization; Gender and Religion; Future Studies. She has published extensively and contributed papers to several national and international conferences/seminars/workshops on gender, generational and family issues. Among her recent publications: (with G. Bonifacio and C. Corradi, eds.) Women and Religion. Contemporary and Future Challenges in the Global Era, Bristol, 2018; Diversity in Family Life. Gender, Relationships and Social Change, Bristol, 2013.

Rassa Ghaffari is a PhD candidate in Sociology at the University of Milano-Bicocca with a thesis on the representations of gender roles among two generations in Iran. She has been visiting researcher at the Faculty of Oriental Cultures and Languages, University of Oslo, and holds a master’s degree in African and Asian studies. Her research interests include youth studies, generation studies and Iranian culture and society. She was awarded the Cesare Bonacossa scholarship for a field research in 2014 and the Marina Chiola award for the best master’s thesis on gender issues in 2015.

Feminist Responses to Anti-Gender Mobilisation - Feminism Against Conservative Threats (FEMACT)

Anna Katarina Giritli Nygren, Angelika Sjöstedt Landén

Forum for Gender Studies, Mid Sweden University, Sweden

Our aim with this presentation is to discuss how gender studies and feminism address the diverse contemporary forms of anti-genderism and the growing resistance to pluralistic and inclusive understanding of gender and sexuality. We give examples from the work done in a pilot project (2017) funded by the Swedish Foundation for Humanities and Social Sciences where we did an inventory of feminist initiatives resisting and challenging anti-gender agendas across Europe. The experiences from this project show the differences in challenges facing feminist activists and gender scholars on local levels. It reveals similarities and differences that need to be addressed on a transnational level and with solidarity with the variety of feminist- and anti-racist struggles led by a curiosity of the different conditions that anti-gender initiatives create. How do we account for this while doing solidarity that can cut across regimes of oppression? What are the conditions of possibility for doing border-crossing scholarly cooperation? What are the ways in which we can challenge the different kinds of brick walls that we experience in institutional, national and other contexts, and that we need to get up against for doing transnational cooperation?

We want to emphasize the centrality of collective practices in the production of feminist knowledge and theoretical concepts, providing solid and unique models of activist scholarship. We therefore also think that it is necessary to unsettle binary conceptions of politics as either global or local, central or peripheral and instead try to work to identify how to create chains of equivalence among various feminist struggles.


Katarina Giritli Nygren is a Professor in Sociology and Director of the Forum for Gender Studies at Mid Sweden University. Her current research addresses different forms of governance relationships with a focus on spatial processes of inclusion and exclusion in terms of gender, class, and ethnicity in different contexts. In her most recent research, she argues for feminist and intersectional analyses of the shifting governmentalities of neoliberal welfare states to elucidate the movement from a welfare to a punitive state with an increased focus on risks and national security.

Angelika Sjöstedt Landén is a PhD in Ethnology and Senior Lecturer in Gender Studies at Mid Sweden University. She is the director of the human resources undergraduate programme. She has published articles, book chapters, co-edited books and editorials concerning intersectional studies of work life and gender equality policy as well as studies of rural morality and rural resilience including centre and periphery relations. Her work often aims at linking feminist and critical theory with research fields more rarely addressed with such perspectives.