T O Keefe Presentation

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  • 1. ‘ Sometimes it would be nice to be a man’: the salience of gender identity after the Good Friday Agreement. February 6, 2009 Dr. Theresa O’Keefe Department of Sociology National University of Ireland, Maynooth Email: theresa.okeefe@nuim.ie
  • 2. Studying Gender Identity in Northern Ireland
    • Has the Good Friday Agreement allowed us to move beyond ethno-nationalism when studying identity?
    • Past studies tend to focus on the gendered nature of ethno-nationalism (Aretxaga, Cockburn, O’Keefe, Sales, Ward).
    • Little qualitative work done on gender in its own right. Contemporary Irish Identities Project quite significant as a result.
  • 3. Difficulties in Discussing Gender
    • How can you raise a discussion about gender identity in a way that is meaningful to the respondent?
    • Is gender identity too ‘naturalised’ to study? What difficulties does this present?
  • 4. Understandings of Gender Difference
    • First recollection of difference -could not recall -natural/biological difference -social roles
    • Current understanding -motherhood -femininity
  • 5. Awareness of Gender Inequality
    • Gender inequality is ‘naturalised’/fixed.
    • Gender inequality is changing/changeable.
    • Hegemonic masculinity and difficulties for Northern Irish men.
    • No gender inequality.
  • 6. Key Findings
    • Gender not as salient/clear as one might hope, particularly in comparison to class.
    • Positionality is key.
    • Danger in ‘naturalising’ gender order.
  • 7. Implications
    • Women’s/Feminist Organising -importance of positionality
    • Future research -gender identity – gender not as a subtext of ethno-national identity. -relationship between gender identity and under-studied categories (i.e. class, sexuality, ability).