University of Gothenburg

The futures of genders and sexualities - Cultural products, transnational spaces and emerging communities

The project follows three cultural products: The rainbow flag, identified as secular and progressive, The veil, as religious, and manga, as post-secular. The aim is to examine their role in the making of transnational communities, which, intentionally or unintentionally, reiterate, resist or recast gender and sexuality norms.

The cultural products and artefacts move over the world, affect their contexts and become transformed. We conduct net-ethnography, interviews with actors in the communities and participant observations on manifestations and events where the products play a role. The object is to aquire knowledge about a multifaceted civil society beyond organizations, perceived as imagined transnational communities.

The three products are related to a hierarchical divide between the religious – often understood as traditional – and the secular – regarded as the condition for democracy. We want to challenge this dichotomy and stress the importance of including notions of religion and secularism in research on gender, sexuality and civil society. By starting from the products we will reach other transnational practices than those characterized by a Eurocentric paradigm. By studying the products as performative, repeatedly connecting with and affected by a number of norms and artefacts in an unpredictable way, we will aquire knowledge about the emergence of a multifaceted civil society, a variety of gender and sexuality norms and new possible figurations to identify with.

Project leader: Lena Martinsson, Department of Cultural Sciences
Project duration: 2015-2020
Funding: Swedish Research Council