Other genders: (Un)doing gender norms in Portugal at a microsocial level

Sara Merlini

Abstract


Departing from an analysis of alternative views and practices to gender-dominant norms, we focus on the construction of gender difference at a microsocial level. By looking at those who intentionally transgress and distance themselves from gender mainstream conventions and beliefs, we aim to deepen the understanding of the continuities and changes in gender regulation mechanisms and processes. For this, we will carry out a critical analysis of qualitative data from a sub-sample of transgender individuals who do not identify unambivalently with the binary categories of man/woman. Based on the Portuguese data collected within the TRANSRIGHTS Project,1 we will show how gender norms are being mobilized, transformed and resisted to in micro-interactions. To carry out this analytical exercise, we confront two of the fundamental theoretical currents in the study of gender norms. As we seek to bridge the gap between action and structure, our results provide insight into how gender is being (un)done in the Portuguese context. We identified three main groups that practice gender beyond the binary and their relation to the dominant norms. Given the growing visibility and greater tolerance for ‘non-binary’ genders in western societies, this study is both relevant and necessary.


References


Almeida, M. V. de (2009), ‘Ser mas não ser, eis a questão: O problema persistente do essencialismo estratégico’ (‘Being but not being, that’s the question: The persistent problem of strategic essentialism’), 1, Cria working paper, Lisbon, ISCTE-IUL, Instituto Universitário de Lisboa.

Bock, G. (1989), ‘Questionando dicotomias: Perspectivas sobre a história das mulheres’ (‘Questioning dichotomies: Perspectives on the history of women’), in A. I. Crespo, A. Monteiro-Ferreira, A. G. Couto, I. Cruz and T. Joaquim (eds) (2008), Variações Sobre Sexo e Género (Variations on Sex and Gender), Lisbon: Horizonte, pp. 78–101.

Bourdieu, P. (2001), Razões Práticas: Sobre a Teoria da Ação (Practical Reasons: About Theory of Action), Oeiras: Celta.

Butler, J. (1986), ‘Variações sobre sexo e género: Beauvoir, Wittig e Foucault’ (‘Variations on sex and gender: Beauvoir, Wittig and Foucault’), in A. I. Crespo, A. Monteiro-Ferreira, A. G. Couto, I. Cruz and T. Joaquim (eds) (2008), Variações Sobre Sexo e Género (Variations on Sex and Gender), Lisbon: Horizonte, pp. 154–72.

—— (2004), Undoing Gender, New York, NY: Routledge.

—— (2009), ‘Performative acts and gender constitution: An essay in phenomenology and feminist theory’, Theatre Journal, 40:4, pp. 519–31.

Byrne, J. (2014), License to Be Yourself: Laws and Advocacy for Legal Gender Recognition of Trans People, New York: Open Society Foundations, osf. to/1nXTK9u. Accessed 23 November 2018.

Capuzza, J. C. (2016), ‘Improvements still needed for transgender coverage’, Newspaper Research Journal, 37:1, pp. 82–94.

Cascais, A. F. (2006), ‘Diferentes como só nós: O associativismo GLBT português em três andamentos’ (‘Different as only we are: Portuguese LGBT associativism in three stages’), Revista Crítica de Ciências Sociais, 76, pp. 109–26.

Cohler, B. J. and Hostetler, A. (2003), ‘Linking life course and life story: Social change and the narrative study of lives over time’, in J. T. Mortimer and M. J. Shanahan (eds), Handbook of the Life Course, New York: Kluwer, pp. 555–76.

Connell, R. W. (1987), Gender and Power: Society, The Person and Sexual Politics, Cambridge: Polity.

—— (2009a), ‘Accountable conduct: “Doing gender” in transsexual and political retrospect’, Gender and Society, 23:1, pp. 104–11.

—— (2009b), Gender in World Perspective, Cambridge: Polity.

Davis, H. F. (2017), ‘Let’s delete sex-identity from birth certificates’, Aeon, 31 May, bit.ly/2QLk63m. Accessed 23 November 2018.

Ekins, R. and King, D. (2006), The Transgender Phenomenon, London: SAGE.

—— (2010), ‘The emergence of new transgendering identities in the age of the Internet’, in S. Hines and T. Sanger (eds), Transgender Identities: Towards a Social Analysis of Gender Diversity, London and New York, NY: Routledge, pp. 25–42.

Goffman, E. (1977), ‘The arrangement between the sexes’, Theory and Society, 4:3, pp. 301–31.

Green, L. (2004), ‘Gender and the social construction of identity’, in G. Taylor and S. Spencer (eds), Social Identities: Multidisciplinary Approaches, London and New York, NY: Routledge, pp. 35–63.

Hall, S. (2006), A Identidade Cultural na Pós-Modernidade (Cultural Identity in Post-Modernity), Rio de Janeiro: DP&A.

Hansen, J. (2014), ‘Continental feminism’, in The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Stanford, CA: Center for the Study of Language and Information, stanford.io/2RKuRQU. Accessed 23 November 2018.

Hearn, J. (2012), ‘Male bodies, masculine bodies, men’s bodies: The need for a concept of gex’, in B. S. Turner (ed.), Routledge Handbook of Body Studies, London and New York, NY: Routledge, pp. 307–20.

Hines, S. (2007), Transforming Gender: Transgender Practices of Identity, Intimacy and Care, Bristol: Policy.

—— (2010), ‘Introduction’, in S. Hines and T. Sanger (eds), Transgender Identities: Towards a Social Analysis of Gender Diversity, London and New York, NY: Routledge, pp. 1–22.

Hines, S. and Sanger, T. (eds) (2010), Transgender Identities: Towards a Social Analysis of Gender Diversity, London and New York, NY: Routledge.

Hines, S. and Santos, A. C. (2017), ‘Trans* policy, politics and research: The UK and Portugal’, Critical Social Policy, 38:1, pp. 35–56.

Jenks, C. (2003), Transgression, London and New York, NY: Routledge.

Lawler, S. (2014), Identity: Sociological Perspectives, Cambridge: Polity.

McNay, L. (1999), ‘Gender, habitus and the field: Pierre Bourdieu and the limits of reflexivity’, Theory, Culture & Society, 16:1, pp. 95–117.

Miskolci, R. and Pelúcio, L. (2007), ‘Fora do sujeito e fora do lugar: reflexões sobre performatividade a partir de uma etnografia entre travestis’ (‘Out of subject and out of place: Reflections on performativity from an ethnography between transvestites’), Revista Gênero, 7:2, pp. 255–67.

Nico, M. (2012), ‘Viragem e ilusão biográficas: Estratégias metodológicas alternativas para abordar a reflexividade e a temporalidade’ (‘Biographical turning and illusion: Alternative methodological strategies to address reflexivity and temporality’), in VII Congresso Português de Sociologia – Sociedade, Crise e Reconfigurações (VII Portuguese Congress of Sociology – Society, Crisis and Reconfigurations), Porto: Associação Portuguesa de Sociologia.

Nogueira, C. and Oliveira, J. M. de (2010), ‘Estudo sobre a discriminação em função da orientação sexual e da identidade de género’ (‘Study on discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity’), CIG – Comissão para a Cidadania e a Igualdade de Género, Lisbon: Coleção es Lisboa e Porto.

Pearse, R. and Connell, R. W. (2016), ‘Gender norms and the economy: Insights from social research’, Feminist Economics, 22:1, pp. 30–53.

Pilcher, J. (2016), ‘Names, bodies and identities’, Sociology, 50:4, pp. 764–79.

Reed, I. A. (2013), ‘Power: Relational, discursive, and performative dimensions’, Sociological Theory, 31:3, pp. 193–218.

Saleiro, S. (2013), ‘Trans géneros: Uma abordagem sociológica da diversidade de género’ (‘Transgender: A sociological approach to gender diversity’), doctoral thesis, Lisbon: ISCTE-IUL, repositorio.iscte-iul.pt/handle/10071/7848. Accessed 23 November 2018.

Santos, A. C. (2013), Social Movements and Sexual Citizenship in Southern Europe, London: Palgrave Macmillan.

Scott, J. W. (1988), ‘Género: Uma categoria útil de análise histórica’ (‘Gender: A useful category of historical analysis’), in A. I. Crespo, A. Monteiro-Ferreira, A. G. Couto, I. Cruz and T. Joaquim (eds) (2008), Variações Sobre Sexo e Género, Lisbon: Horizonte, pp. 49–77.

Shapiro, E. (2004), ‘“Trans”cending Barriers’, Journal of Gay & Lesbian Social Services, 16:3&4, pp. 165–79.

Shotwell, A. and Sangrey, T. (2009), ‘Resisting definition: Gendering through Interaction and relational selfhood’, Hypatia, 24:3, pp. 56–76.

Silva, T. T. da (ed.) (2000), ‘A produção social da identidade e da diferença’ (‘The social production of identity and difference’), in Identidade e Diferença: A Perspectiva dos Estudos Culturais (Identity and Difference: The Perspective of Cultural Studies), Petrópolis: Vozes, pp. 73–102.

Souto-Manning, M. (2014), ‘Critical narrative analysis: The interplay of critical discourse and narrative analyses’, International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education, 27:2, pp. 159–80.

Stryker, S. (2008), Transgender History, Berkeley, CA: Seal Press.

Wengraf, T. (2000), ‘Uncovering the general from within the particular: From contingencies to typologies in the understanding of cases’, in P. Chamberlayne, J. Bornat and T. Wengraf (eds), The Turn to Biographical Methods in Social Science: Comparative Issues and Examples, London and New York, NY: Routledge, pp. 140–64.

West, C. and Zimmerman, D. H. (1987), ‘Doing gender’, Gender & Society, 1:2, pp. 125–51.

—— (2009), ‘Accounting for doing gender’, Gender & Society, 23:1, pp. 112–22.


Refbacks

  • There are currently no refbacks.