Feminist Review Issue 56: Debating Discourses, Practising Feminism (Feminist Review)

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As Carbin and Edenheim put it:. Intersectionality promises almost everything: to provide complexity, overcome divisions and to serve as a critical tool. However, the expansion of the scope of intersectionality has created a consensus that conceals the fruitful and necessary conflicts within feminism. Carbin and Edenheim, In their article, they further interrogate such conflictual aspects of intersectionality from a poststructuralist and postcolonial perspective. In line with this, drawing on critical realism and complexity theory, Walby et al.

This special issue addresses a number of tensions echoing such critical reviews. We formulate them as follows: i. Authors in this special issue address, at times passionately, one or the other side of these arguments. We now briefly discuss these tensions and connect them to contributions featured in this special issue. Intersectionality, as defined by Crenshaw , is arguably rooted in a structuralist perspective, and tied to the particular intersection of gender and race in the US legal context. With regards to genealogy, there has been an ongoing discussion about how novel the idea of intersectionality actually was in — in which case this dating is rather one that signals crystallization of ideas that surfaced long before.

For example, it can be contended that Marxist feminism or postcolonial feminism developed as a response to the insufficient discussion of gender in critical streams such as Marxist and postcolonial studies Brah and Phoenix, In turn, such claims have been attacked as a typical attempt to deprive non-white feminists of voice, of their capacity to develop relevant and novel concepts and perspectives for feminist work e. Crenshaw, In particular, this poses the question of the flexibility with which intersectionality can be used as either a theory or method.

In this issue, Ruel, Mills and Thomas as well as Ulus stay close to the original definition and contextualization of intersectionality and are concerned with gender and race in the United States of America. They operationalize intersectionality to understand past iconic career trajectories with the notion of anchoring points Ruel et al.

With regards to elasticity, scholars manifest both apprehension and enthusiasm regarding the possibility to use intersectionality outside of a structuralist perspective, as well as beyond the intersection of race and gender Nash, In this issue, Liu denounces the liberal appropriation of and the ensuing de-radicalization of intersectionality in organization studies where there has been.

In turn, proponents of a wider use of the concept argue that an exclusive focus on the intersection of discriminatory potencies can lead to the side-lining of agency, as well as overlooking potentially insightful intersections of oppression and privilege Nash This broad use has led to a more general definition of intersectionality as the intersection of two or more categories; in this issue, Styhre argues that:. Power and privilege need not be absent from such studies, however.

Moreover, given the long-deplored scarcity and underdevelopment of methodological tools to deploy intersectionality in empirical work Marfelt, , there is ample room for innovation and creativity. This challenge is remarkably attended to across contributions to this special issue, with authors adding to existing methodological insights by way of extension Liu; Ruel et al.

They thus collectively pose the question of how to track and deconstruct discrimination through space and time.

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In line with this, further self-reflexivity and debates as to what we assume are the boundaries of intersectional research is needed, to ensure that the concept remains fruitful without being defused. What does it mean to talk about race and gender as intersecting categories? This is another one of the questions that researchers have debated in relation to intersectionality. Does this mean that a given intersection could be considered a new, distinct category? Judith Butler notoriously critiqued this additive logic:. Through this horizontal trajectory of adjectives, these positions strive to encompass a situated subject, but invariably fail to be complete.

This is a sign of exhaustion as well as of the illimitable process of signification itself. It is the supplement, the excess that necessarily accompanies any effort to posit identity once and for all. Butler, How can we address structurally produced discrimination through fixed categories without taking the risk of perpetuating inequality regimes Acker, ? Identities can be actual and projected Beech, ; material and virtual Schultze, ; past and present Bardon et al.

This poses the question of the way in which intersectionality can be addressed through space and time, and how loops of discrimination and privilege traverse individuals. In his note, Shield this issue draws attention to intersectionality in subcultures as expressed in virtual interactions when using the socio-sexual app Grindr. In such a perspective, identity work is not only a function of individual agency and discursive opportunities but is also swayed by technological affordances. In her conclusion to Gender Trouble, Butler comments that:. This illimitable et cetera, however, offers itself as a new departure for feminist political theorizing.

This directs us to consider identity as a practice, as something that is done, and agency as exercised in the interstices created by the ongoing repeated performance of a given intersectional identity, displacing that identity and the power relations the subject is inscribed into Butler, ; Foucault, Such an attempt could be criticized by some as being a hijacking of structural ideas into another paradigm, yet perfectly aligns with the queer approach of denying stability and permanence to paradigms themselves.

Besides the above-mentioned debate about categories and categorization, the projects tied to specific intersections are also a point of controversy. Indeed, the multiplication of categories described above suggests that these identified social groups can be the basis for differentiated struggles for equality. A number of authors vigorously argue for the even consideration of all emancipatory projects, since not doing so would again verse into a logic of domination e. Hancock, Yet, other scholars warn against the supposed equal, universal value of all intersections and the related power struggles.

For example, Walby et al. As a corollary to this debate around the hierarchy or equality of struggles, one has to consider the implications for change projects. Are particular forms of discrimination and prejudice better addressed at their exact intersection and location, or is a holistic approach more effective?

In terms of theorization and illustration, there is little doubt of the interest to explore and expose the complex ways in which power is exercised. This question, however, is more disputed with regards to enacting and enforcing change in practice. Is a universal, democratic project unattainable? Are intersection-specific struggles fruitful? This is reminiscent of the critique of identity politics as fragmenting, as operating another kind of reification, a critique which has recently developed traction in the public debate Lilla, ; Nash, While Crenshaw ; separates the political and theoretical aspects of intersectionality, by discussing feminism and intersectionality in the context of the US presidential election, in her note for this special issue Ulus shows how they collide, are intertwined; one could be tempted to say: how they intersect.

This colliding is, she argues, not only observed in deliberate acts, but also in fantasies:. Unconscious fantasies to fulfil wishes, needs, desires — and the defences that are invoked, when fantasies are threatened and stimulate anxieties — these interconnecting dynamics, occurring unconsciously, provide remarkable analytic connectivity for confronting the contested meanings of feminism in daily political practices. I contend that fantasies fuel the priorities that are given to specific feminist public enactments, for instance in mainstream, corporate-supported spaces, privileging some voices and attempting to smother others — with material consequences.

Other streams of the literature have focused more on how institutions produce these intersections. In that sense, individuals or groups are merely the sites in which we can empirically observe the intersections. Aligned with such a perspective, in this issue Styhre experiments with intersectionality as a supplement to analyses grounded in institutional theory and its derivatives such as institutional logics, institutional entrepreneurship, or institutional work.

Institutions and elites are also at the heart of the interview with Philomena Essed conducted by Sara Louise Muhr Essed and Muhr, this issue and the response by Martin Parker this issue that is especially attentive to race, privilege, and the public space. To start with, such concepts want to make explicit that the more important issue is not that specific individuals are racist or display racist behaviour, but that the State itself can function on racist foundations.

Rather, it is argued that this form of racism is both long-ingrained and at times nearly invisible. At the individual or group level, this results in what sociologists call racialization see for example Murji and Solomos, In November , writer and activist Rokhaya Diallo was barred from a national council following complaints that she had publicly referred to the existence of institutional racism in France. In the same vein as institutional racism, concepts such as patriarchy or ableism indirectly suggest that if individuals or groups can adopt and reproduce discriminatory behaviours or ideas, it is also because they are available and validated as a discourse in a given context.

This special issue features four articles, three notes, as well as a commented interview; two book reviews end this issue to give us inspiration for more reading. We hereafter give the reader a brief overview of the different contributions. To start with, Stefanie Ruel, Albert Mills and Janice Thomas address the challenge of using the concept of intersectionality throughout the research design rather than confining it to a theoretical frame. They take a specific interest in the workplace marginalization experienced by Ruth Bates Harris, who was not only the first black senior manager ever hired by NASA but also the first woman.

Her case is approached through a critical sensemaking framework, which is used both to reconstruct her story from archival data and to analyse it. Beyond intersecting social identities based on phenotypical traits, the authors exemplify that studying an organizational participant from an intersectional perspective also means studying their socio-historical situatedness and the related institutional and organisational discourses that shape identities. Alexander Styhre also looks into identity construction through the prism of intersectionality, albeit the focus is here on professional identities at the intersection of heterogeneous sets of norms and organizational arrangements.

In particular, Styhre argues that there has been too limited attention given to elite identities and how intersectionality plays out in the related identity work. In this article, Styhre gives specific attention to life science professionals working for small, start-up type companies which are highly dependent on access financial capital to continue to innovate. Hurvitz, the tichel is discussed in the Jewish laws of modesty as a required article of clothing worn by married women. While they are called many different things in both Judaism and Islamic religions, they have many of the same rules, and coincide on many ideological levels.

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A survey by the Council on American Islamic Relations showed that two out of three mosques in required women to pray in a separate area, up from one out of two in In , some American mosques had constitutions prohibiting women from voting in board elections. The women continued their protest against being corralled in what they referred to as the " penalty box " a prayer space reserved for only women.

Thompson called the penalty box "an overheated, dark back room. In a group of Muslim activists, politicians, and writers issued a Declaration of Reform which states in part, "Men and women have equal rights in mosques, boards, leadership and all spheres of society.

According to currently existing traditional schools of Islam, a woman cannot lead a mixed gender congregation in salat prayer. Some schools make exceptions for Tarawih optional Ramadan prayers or for a congregation consisting only of close relatives. Certain medieval scholars—including Muhammad ibn Jarir al-Tabari — , Abu Thawr — , Isma'il Ibn Yahya al-Muzani — , and Ibn Arabi — considered the practice permissible at least for optional nafl prayers; however, their views are not accepted by any major surviving group.

Islamic feminists have begun to protest this. It sparked a controversy within the Muslim community because the imam was a woman, Wadud, who also delivered the khutbah. This event that departed from the established ritual practice became an embodied performance of gender justice in the eyes of its organizers and participants.

The event was widely publicized in the global media and caused an equally global debate among Muslims. Muzammil Siddiqi, chairman of the Fiqh Council of North America, argued that prayer leadership should remain restricted to men [95] He based his argument on the longstanding practice and thus community consensus and emphasized the danger of women distracting men during prayers. The events that occurred in regards to equality in the mosque and women leading prayers, show the enmity Muslim feminists may receive when voicing opposition toward sexism and establishing efforts to combat it.

Those who criticize Muslim feminists state that those who question the faith's views on gender segregation, or who attempt to make changes, are overstepping their boundaries and are acting offensively. On the other hand, people have stated that Islam does not advocate gender segregation. Britain's influential Sunni imam, Ahtsham Ali , has stated, "gender segregation has no basis in Islamic law" nor is it justified in the Quran. This image is what the rest of the world sees and understands Islam to be. Fatima Seedat agrees with both Barlas and Badran about the importance of feminism in the Islamic world.

She believes it is important to speak about and illustrate how feminism has existed in the lines of the Qur'an. By separating the two and giving their own space, it will be more inclusive to everyone men, women, Muslims and non-Muslims. She states in her essay the importance of sharing with the rest of the world what Islam has to offer feminism, and to show the true image of Islam by not referring to themselves as Islamic feminists. Zakir Naik shares examples from the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad, emphasizing "the negativity of disobeying the mother more than the father," to show how just Islam is to women, and not oppressive as many people around the world think of Islam.

He uses the example of separate sports teams rather than unisex. Women do not even play tennis unless each opposing couple is one male and one female. Tennis matches do not consist of two women against two men. Her brother, Dhiraar al-Azwar , trained her to fight and she fought with him in many battles. It is said that it was not known that she was a female when in battle because all soldiers were dressed in loose clothing and wrapped themselves in cloth to protect themselves from the sand and dust.

After proving herself as a soldier by showing her talent and skill in combat, she revealed herself to the men she fought next to.

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  4. Since then, Khawla was essential to have in every battle that followed. He said: Your mother. He again said: Then who is the next one? He said: Again it is your mother who deserves the best treatment from you. He said: Then who is the next one? He the Holy Prophet said: Again, it is your mother. He again said: Then who? Thereupon he said: Then it is your father. From the Quran: Surah [] O ye who believe! Ye are forbidden to inherit women against their will. Nor should ye treat them with harshness, that ye may Take away part of the dower ye have given them,-except where they have been guilty of open lewdness; on the contrary live with them on a footing of kindness and equity.

    If ye take a dislike to them it may be that ye dislike a thing, and God brings about through it a great deal of good. Naik explains that this is not to give men a higher status than women, but to give them the role of caretaker because they are created physically stronger than women.

    He stresses on the different roles they are given as men and women because of how God created them. Men are providers and women are the caregivers at home, given more patience, resilience, and the ability to forgive more than men.

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    Main article: Women as imams. Main article: List of Muslim feminists. This audio file was created from a revision of the article " Islamic feminism " dated , and does not reflect subsequent edits to the article. Audio help. More spoken articles. Archived from the original on Retrieved Retrieved 9 December New York Times. Retrieved 11 April In Doumato, Eleanor; Posusney, Marsha eds. Lynne Rienner. Muslim Feminism PBS". International Journal of Middle East Studies. Washington: Middle East Institute, Islam: The Straight Path. New York: Oxford UP, Islamic Creeds: A Selection. Edinburgh: Edinburgh UP, Saqi Books.

    The Conversation. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, Kalimat Press. Women and Gender in Islam. New York: Basic Books. London: Oneworld. Congressional Human Rights Caucus. December 18, Archived from the original on June 28, Meena: Heroine Of Afghanistan. The Washingtion Times. Journal of Middle East Women's Studies. Feminist Review. Retrieved 6 June Retrieved 8 November Retrieved — via www. Hindustan Times. The Hindu. The Nation. Arab Studies Quarterly. The New York Times. Women's Rights In Islam. Cambridge University. Archived PDF from the original on The Guardian.

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    Debating Discourses, Practising Feminisms: Feminist Review, Issue 56

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