T O Keefe Presentation

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T O Keefe Presentation

  1. 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. 2. Studying Gender Identity in Northern Ireland <ul><li>Has the Good Friday Agreement allowed us to move beyond ethno-nationalism when studying identity? </li></ul><ul><li>Past studies tend to focus on the gendered nature of ethno-nationalism (Aretxaga, Cockburn, O’Keefe, Sales, Ward). </li></ul><ul><li>Little qualitative work done on gender in its own right. Contemporary Irish Identities Project quite significant as a result. </li></ul>
  3. 3. Difficulties in Discussing Gender <ul><li>How can you raise a discussion about gender identity in a way that is meaningful to the respondent? </li></ul><ul><li>Is gender identity too ‘naturalised’ to study? What difficulties does this present? </li></ul>
  4. 4. Understandings of Gender Difference <ul><li>First recollection of difference -could not recall -natural/biological difference -social roles </li></ul><ul><li>Current understanding -motherhood -femininity </li></ul>
  5. 5. Awareness of Gender Inequality <ul><li>Gender inequality is ‘naturalised’/fixed. </li></ul><ul><li>Gender inequality is changing/changeable. </li></ul><ul><li>Hegemonic masculinity and difficulties for Northern Irish men. </li></ul><ul><li>No gender inequality. </li></ul>
  6. 6. Key Findings <ul><li>Gender not as salient/clear as one might hope, particularly in comparison to class. </li></ul><ul><li>Positionality is key. </li></ul><ul><li>Danger in ‘naturalising’ gender order. </li></ul>
  7. 7. Implications <ul><li>Women’s/Feminist Organising -importance of positionality </li></ul><ul><li>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). </li></ul>

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