Issue 20 | June 2013

  • Arşiv

  • The Uses and Abuses of Gender

    Joan W. Scott - June•13

    The category of gender has had many uses since its feminist formulation in the 1970’s. The essay looks at its radical challenges to conventional notions of the differences between women and men as well as at the ways in which gender has been recuperated in recent years by various state and international agencies such as NGO’s and the UN. Even so, gender remains a site of struggle about whoat counts as natural and what counts as social. Scott links the instability of the term and its continued usefulness for feminist politics to the instability of the facts of sexual difference itself. Gender as our object of study is, in effect, the answers (contingent, contentious, mutable) offered to the unanswerable questions of sexual difference (what do these bodies mean? how do I understand desire?). Regulations that establish gender roles are attempts to make the questions unaskable. As a result, gender is a perpetual site for political contestation, one of those locations for the deployment of knowledge in the interests of power.

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