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  • 1.
    Ambjörnsson, Fanny
    et al.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Ethnology, History of Religions and Gender Studies, Gender Studies.
    Ganetz, Hillevi
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Ethnology, History of Religions and Gender Studies, Gender Studies.
    Introduction: Feminist Cultural Studies2013In: Culture Unbound. Journal of Current Cultural Research, ISSN 2000-1525, E-ISSN 2000-1525, Vol. 5, p. 127-131Article in journal (Other academic)
  • 2.
    Berggren, Kalle
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Child and Youth Studies.
    Ashamed of One’s Sexism, Mourning One’s Friends: Emotions and Relations in Men’s Encounters with Feminism in Sweden2020In: Culture Unbound. Journal of Current Cultural Research, ISSN 2000-1525, E-ISSN 2000-1525, Vol. 12, no 3, p. 466-484Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    One of the most important questions for feminist research on men and masculinity concerns how men can change and become more affected by feminism and less engaged in sexism. Here, men who identify as feminist, pro-feminist or anti-sexist have been considered to be of particular interest. This article contributes to the emerging research on men’s engagement with feminism by analysing contemporary writing about gender relations, inequality and masculinity, more specifically books about men published in Sweden, 2004-2015. Focusing on lived-experience descriptions, the analysis shows how a range of emotions are central to the processes where men encounter and are becoming affected by feminism. The emotions identified include happy ones such as relief, but a more prominent place is given to negative emotions such as alienation, shame, frustration, as well as loss and mourning. Drawing on Ahmed’s model of emotions as bound up with encounters with others, the article highlights how men’s engagement with feminism is embedded within interpersonal relations with others, particularly women partners, men friends, and children.

  • 3.
    Bäckman, Maria
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Ethnology, History of Religions and Gender Studies.
    The Contract-labour Photographs of Gunnar Lundh: A Media History Study of a Photo Archive in Motion2020In: Culture Unbound. Journal of Current Cultural Research, ISSN 2000-1525, E-ISSN 2000-1525, Vol. 12, no 1, p. 36-64Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The focus of this article is the work of photographer Gunnar Lundh, specifically the works collectively known as the statare photographs, images of rural contract labourers (or statare) that form part of a collection donated to the Nordic Museum in 1961. An overview of how these photographs have circulated in the Swedish public sphere indicates that three areas are particularly suitable for a targeted study of their use and reuse: i) social reportage, aimed at the miserable conditions facing these agricultural labourers in the emerging welfare state; ii) a biographical theme, in which the contract-labour photographs are part of a historical layer that repeatedly connects the author and opinion former Ivar Lo-Johansson with the ‘contract-labour photographer’ Lundh; and iii) how the older images remain a relevant element of a contemporary material cultural-heritage creation. In all of these examples, Lundh’s contract-labour photographs function as visual models through which it becomes possible to represent the contract labourers’ historical reality in books, buildings and interiors. However, they also constitute important components in the creation and perpetuation of what this article highlights as a distinctive set of intra-referential memory.

  • 4.
    Dahlgren, Anna
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Culture and Aesthetics.
    Photography Reframed2016In: Culture Unbound. Journal of Current Cultural Research, ISSN 2000-1525, E-ISSN 2000-1525, Vol. 8, no 1, p. 3-19Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This article discusses the benefits of analysing photography as mediated, reproduced and entangled in media systems, and consequently as part of a larger media culture. Moreover it combines technological considerations drawn from media archaeology with art historical analysis focusing on visual aesthetics. It considers two mediating devices for photography in the nineteenth century, the photo album and the illustrated press. As displayed, a media historical perspective airs new interpretations and understandings of processes and practices in relation to photography in the period. Thus what from a photo historical point of view might appear as an important, paradigmatic invention or a critical technical delimitation might from a media historical perspective seem to have been merely a small adjustment in a chain of gradual improvements and experiments in the dissemination and consumption of images. Thus photographic media specificity delimited by technical procedures and certain materials outputs, which was so strongly emphasized in the twentieth century, was evidently not fixed to materiality and rather opened and negotiated in the nineteenth century. Accordingly, responsiveness to the literal and figurative framing of photography as mediated, discloses other photo histories.

  • 5.
    Ekström, Simon
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Ethnology, History of Religions and Gender Studies.
    From Excerpt to Cosplay: Paths of Knowledge in the Nordic Museum Archive2020In: Culture Unbound. Journal of Current Cultural Research, ISSN 2000-1525, E-ISSN 2000-1525, Vol. 12, no 1, p. 116-140Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The aim of this article is to shed some light on the situation that occurs when scholarly knowledge, once highly valued, is successively undermined, while elements of the same learning live on as attractive resources to other stakeholders. More accurately, the research question relates to the process that starts with many ethnologists who, over time, come to increasingly view formerly important materials as less relevant to their own academic issues. For the sake of the argument, the Nordic Museum’s extensive collection of excerpts concerning folk customs and beliefs is used as an eye-opening case study. During the 1960s and 1970s, folklore researchers and ethnologists retreated from researching those lingering traces of the past—of which the Nordic Museum’s excerpt collection constitutes a powerful material centre—and thus this field was left free for others to claim. By drawing attention to both the productive force of the Nordic Museum’s collection of excerpts, and a number of contemporary and popular representations of ancient folklore, this article actualises a set of questions that deal with the relationship between new and old knowledge; for what becomes of previously sought after academic learning, once treasured in the Nordic Museum Archive, when the vast majority of the discipline heads for new materials, methods and theories?

  • 6.
    Fleischer, Rasmus
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Economic History.
    If the Song has No Price, is it Still a Commodity?: Rethinking the Commodification of Digital Music2017In: Culture Unbound. Journal of Current Cultural Research, ISSN 2000-1525, E-ISSN 2000-1525, Vol. 9, no 2, p. 146-162Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    In music streaming services like Spotify, discrete pieces of music no longer has a price, as has traditionally been the case in music retailing, both analog and digital. This article discusses the theoretical and practical implications of this shift towards subscriptions, starting from a critical review of recent literature dealing with the commodification of music. The findings have a relevance that is not limited to music or digital media, but also apply more broadly on the study of commodification. At the theoretical level, the article compares two ways of defining the commodity, one structural (Marx), one situational (Appadurai, Kopytoff), arguing for the necessity of a theory that can distinguish commodities from all that which is not (yet) commodified. This is demonstrated by taking Spotify as a case, arguing that it does not sell millions of different commodities to its users, but only one: the subscription itself. This has broad economic and cultural implications, of which four are highlighted:(1) The user of Spotify has no economic incentive to limit music listening, because the price of a subscription is the same regardless of the quantity of music consumed.(2) For the same reason, Spotify as a company cannot raise its revenues by making existing customers consume more of the product, but only by raising the number of subscribers, or by raising the price of a subscription.(3) Within platforms like Spotify, it is not possible to use differential pricing of musical recordings, as has traditionally been the case in music retail. Accordingly, record companies or independent artists hence can no longer compete for listeners by offering their music at a discount.(4) Within the circuit of capital. Spotify may actually be better understood as a commodity producer than as a distributor, implying a less symbiotic relationship to the recorded music industry.

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  • 7.
    Fleischer, Rasmus
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Economic History.
    Towards a Postdigital Sensibility: How to get Moved by too Much Music2015In: Culture Unbound. Journal of Current Cultural Research, ISSN 2000-1525, E-ISSN 2000-1525, Vol. 7, p. 255-269Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The article explores the affective consequences of the new mode of instant access to enormous levels of musical recordings in digital format. It is suggested that this "musical superabundance" might weaken the individuals ability to be affected by music in everyday life, while at the same time leading to a renewed interest in collective experience, in ways which are not limited to established notions of musical "liveness". According to a theory of affect influenced by Spinoza, what is at stake is the capacity of the body to be affected by music. The article proposes that a renegotiated relationship between collective and individual modes of experiencing music can be conceptualized with help of Spinozas distinction between two kinds of affections: actions and passions. After scrutinizing the interface of hardware like Apples Ipod and online services like Spotify, the article proceeds by discussing three musical practices which can all be understood as responses to the superabundance of musical recordings: (1) the ascetic practice of "No Music Day"; (2) the revival of cassette culture; (3) the "bass materialism" associated with the music known as dubstep. While none of these approaches provide any solution to the problem of abundance, they can still be understood as attempts to cultivate a "postdigital sensibility". The article tries to conceptualize the postdigital in a way that transcends the narrower notion of "post-digital aesthetics" that has recently been gaining popularity. Finally, it is argued that such a sensibility has a political significance in its potential to subvert the contemporary processes of commodification.

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    Towards a postdigital sensibility
  • 8.
    Fleischer, Rasmus
    et al.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Economic History and International Relations.
    Kullenberg, Christopher
    The Political Significance of Spotify in Sweden – Analysing the #backaspotify Campaign using Twitter Data2018In: Culture Unbound. Journal of Current Cultural Research, ISSN 2000-1525, E-ISSN 2000-1525, Vol. 18, no 2, p. 301-321Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This article discusses the political significance of the streaming music company Spotify in Sweden, taking as a case a coordinated campaign in late spring 2016, known by the hashtag #backaspotify (translated as “support Spotify!”), which was mainly played out on the social media platform Twitter. The campaign is analysed using a set of data retrieved from Twitter, examining both the content and the interactions in 1,791 messages. Results show that the main political issue concerned the lack of access to rented apartments in central Stockholm, and that the main actors in the campaign were predominantly associated with public affairs consultants and the youth wings of political parties belonging to the centre-right. The campaign, however, was very short-lived and had diminished significantly already after two days. We conclude that Spotify transcends its role as a streaming music company, and additionally can be used as a point of reference in political campaigns to promote issues that are of wider scope than the music industry alone.

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    fulltext
  • 9.
    Fleischer, Rasmus
    et al.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Economic History.
    Snickars, Pelle
    Discovering Spotify – A Thematic Introduction2017In: Culture Unbound. Journal of Current Cultural Research, ISSN 2000-1525, E-ISSN 2000-1525, Vol. 9, no 2, p. 130-145Article in journal (Refereed)
    Download full text (pdf)
    fulltext
  • 10.
    Frihammar, Mattias
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Ethnology, History of Religions and Gender Studies, Ethnology.
    A picture is worth a thousand words: On photographs, talking contexts and visual silences2020In: Culture Unbound. Journal of Current Cultural Research, ISSN 2000-1525, E-ISSN 2000-1525, Vol. 12, no 1, p. 117-132Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This paper’s point of departure is that historic silences are socially constructed and culturally productive, and that photographs in archives participate in the creation of historical silences despite, or maybe thanks to, their convincing depicting qualities. In this essay, photographs from three occasions have been studied in detail in order to elucidate different kinds of visual silences. The occasions are i) a funeral where it is the photographer’s own mother that is being buried, ii) a funeral where the coffin is covered in a draping with a swastika, and iii) a royal funeral. Adopting a self-reflexive outlook, the purpose of this essay is to suggest a few possible ways of addressing silences that can occur when the presumptions of a beholder meet the image content of a photograph from the past. The three examples show that the concept of visual silence can be applied in different ways. In the first example, the technical and artistic shortcomings are interpreted as silencing components, which can convey information. In the second example, the (to a contemporary beholder) provocative silence around the historically charged symbol of a swastika becomes an analytical resource in its own right. The last example illustrates how a lot of information can compose such a dominant narrative, that it silences other stories.

  • 11.
    Frihammar, Mattias
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Ethnology, History of Religions and Gender Studies, Ethnology.
    Introduction: Archive and Method(s)2020In: Culture Unbound. Journal of Current Cultural Research, ISSN 2000-1525, E-ISSN 2000-1525, Vol. 12, no 1, p. 1-15Article in journal (Refereed)
  • 12.
    Ganetz, Hillevi
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Ethnology, History of Religions and Gender Studies, Gender Studies.
    Fame Factory: Performing Gender and Sexuality in Talent Reality Television2011In: Culture Unbound. Journal of Current Cultural Research, ISSN 2000-1525, E-ISSN 2000-1525, Vol. 3Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This article discusses how gender and sexuality are performed in a highly feminised cultural symbolic context. The object of study is a reality show where the contestants compete in mainstream popular music. Fame Factory is a Swedish talent-hunt television series with many similarities to Pop Idol. The audience may follow the struggle of the young artists off stage in the ‘Fame School’ in addition to seeing and voting on their feats on stage. In the Fame School they learn to sing, perform and dance, but also to perform masculinity, femininity and sexuality, even if this is not explicit. Through an analysis of some key episodes of this reality show, the article discusses how gender and sexuality are produced and reproduced within this music television context. It is shown how the performances rest on highly traditional conceptions of these categories, but there are also certain transgressions, especially concerning sexuality, which undermine hegemonic structures.

  • 13.
    Jackson, Peter
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Ethnology, History of Religions and Gender Studies, History of Religions.
    The Malady of Unesco’s Archive2014In: Culture Unbound. Journal of Current Cultural Research, ISSN 2000-1525, E-ISSN 2000-1525, Vol. 6, no 56, p. 1015-1024Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This paper offers a critical examination of UNESCO’s cultural heritage conven-tions with special regard to the declared transhumanism of the organization’s first director-general, Sir Julian Huxley. While Huxley’s advocation of eugenics is a well-established fact, this part of his intellectual heritage is usually not considered overtly aligned to his ideas about cultural preservation. On closer consideration, however, improvement and preservation (both cultural and biological) turn out to be closely associated concerns in the field of Huxley’s intellectual vision.

  • 14.
    Lagerqvist, Maja
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Human Geography.
    My Goodness, My Heritage! Constructing Good Heritage in the Irish Economic Crisis2015In: Culture Unbound. Journal of Current Cultural Research, ISSN 2000-1525, E-ISSN 2000-1525, Vol. 7, p. 285-306Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    In 2008, the Republic of Ireland entered a severe financial crisis partly as a part of the global economic crisis. Since then, it has seen large raises in income taxes and cuts in state spending on health, welfare, education and on heritage, which has suffered relatively large cuts. This implies a need for rethinking choices and prioritisations to cope with the changing circumstances. Across Europe, the effects of the crisis on heritage, or the whole cultural sector, have yet mostly been highlighted in general or supposed terms rather than empirically analysed. But what actually happens to how heritage is conceptualised in times of crisis? Inspired by Critical Discourse Analysis, this paper explores representation of and argumentation for heritage in Irish state heritage policies pre and post the recession 2008. Much concerns regarding heritage management are discursively shaped. Policies, stating the authorised viewpoint, are thus key in the construction of heritage and its values in society. Recently, research has highlighted a shift towards more instrumentality in cultural policy due to wider societal changes. A crisis could influence such development. The analysis departs from an often-stated notion of heritage as a part of the Irish national recovery, but what does that imply? Focus is therefore put on how different representations of heritage and its values are present, argued for and compete in a situation with increasing competition regarding relevance and support. The paper shows how heritage matters are refocused, streamlined and packaged as productive, good-for-all, unproblematic and decomplexified in order to be perceived and valued as part of the national recovery. This includes privileging certain instrumental values, foremost economic, by means of specificity, space and quantification, while heritage’s contribution to social life, education or health, although often mentioned, are downplayed by being expressed in much more vague terms. 

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  • 15.
    Nyqvist, Anette
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Anthropology.
    Notes on the Location of Happiness2021In: Culture Unbound. Journal of Current Cultural Research, ISSN 2000-1525, E-ISSN 2000-1525, Vol. 13, no 2, p. 87-103Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This article explores the world making capabilities of travel writing (Goodman 1978; Youngs 2013). The premise is that literary products are key elements in the configuration of the world itself and that specifically authors of travel accounts mediate the world to their readership at home (Archetti 1994).

    By highlighting three different examples of travel writing, the article discusses the persistent notion of the tropical island as an actually existing paradise on earth. More specifically, the discussion focus around the notion that happiness exists in places to which one can travel to.

    The examples at hand are two eighteenth century travel logs one French and one English; Louise-Antoine de Bougainville’s from 1772 and William Bligh’s from 1792, while the third and final example is a contemporary Swedish travel piece written by Anders Mathlein and first published in 2001.

  • 16.
    Petersson, Sonya
    et al.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Culture and Aesthetics.
    Näslund Dahlgren, Anna
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Culture and Aesthetics.
    Seeing Images: Metadata and Mediation in the Digital Archive2021In: Culture Unbound. Journal of Current Cultural Research, ISSN 2000-1525, E-ISSN 2000-1525, Vol. 13, no 2, p. 104-132Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    In the cultural heritage digital archive, descriptive metadata makes images (re)searchable. Text-based searches seek terms that match metadata terms or terms referring to aspects of images that have previously been considered essential to select and describe in metadata terms. Such considerations are bound up with historically changing institutional agendas, ideas about user preferences, and implementation of metadata standards. This study approaches image accessibility from a different perspective. It aims to investigate how the infrastructure of the digital archive, comprising metadata and interface, intervenes with, circumscribes as well as enables, the images’ visibility and knowledge-producing capacity. The starting points are: first, that images in digital archives, exemplified by the online image collections in Alvin and DigitaltMuseum, are mediated, mediating, and “mixed” media objects that simultaneously represent the past and the present; second, that the digital archive in a media history of images functions as both a tool and an object of research. Using the platforms as tools of research, this study is based on test searches that aim to find viable search strategies for mixed media objects. The chosen search terms represent media-historically significant and common traits such as images that are combined with text and images that represent and/or mediate other images. The study discloses that the platforms give both false negatives and false positives. They do not support searches that focus media terms and relations between media elements. These problems are further related both to heterogenous metadata practices and to the simultaneously restricted and broad image concept behind them. As objects of research, both platforms are considered in relation to a future construction of a media history of images, where the digital archive is a particular node. The study demonstrates how the “hypermedial” environment associated with new media is prefigured by media interrelations in analog images – or images that are accessible as mediated through the archive’s interface and as policed by the archive’s metadata structure.

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    fulltext
  • 17.
    Rosenberg, Tiina
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Musicology and Performance Studies, Musicology and Performance Studies.
    The Soundtrack of Revolution: Memory, Affect, and the Power of Protest Songs2013In: Culture Unbound. Journal of Current Cultural Research, ISSN 2000-1525, E-ISSN 2000-1525, Culture, ISSN 2000-1525, Vol. 5, no 1, p. 175-188Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    All cultural representations in the form of songs, pictures, literature, theater, film, television shows, and other media are deeply emotional and ideological, often difficult to define or analyze. Emotions are embedded as a cultural and social soundtrack of memories and minds, whether we like it or not. Feminist scholarship has emphasized over the past decade that affects and emotions are a foundation of human interaction. The cognitive understanding of the world has been replaced by a critical analysis in which questions about emotions and how we relate to the world as human beings is central (Ahmed 2004: 5-12).

        It is in this memory-related instance that this article discusses the unexpected reappearance of a long forgotten song, Hasta siempre, as a part of my personal musical memory. It is a personal reflection on the complex interaction between memory, affect and the genre of protest songs as experiences in life and music. What does it mean when a melody intrudes in the middle of unrelated thoughts, when one’s mind is occupied with rational and purposive considerations? These memories are no coincidences,I argue, they are our forgotten self singing to us.

     

     

  • 18. Sparrman, Anna
    et al.
    Hrechaniuk, Yelyzaveta
    Anatoli Smith, Olga
    Andersson, Klara
    Arzuk, Deniz
    Annerbäck, Johanna
    Bodén, Linnea
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Child and Youth Studies.
    Blaise, Mindy
    Castañeda, Claudia
    Coleman, Rebecca
    Eßer, Florian
    Finn, Matt
    Gustafsson, Daniel
    Holmqvist, Peter
    Josefsson, Jonathan
    Kraftl, Peter
    Lee, Nick
    Lesnik-Oberstein, Karín
    Mitchell, Sarah
    Murris, Karin
    Orrmalm, Alex
    Oswell, David
    Prout, Alan
    Rosen, Rachel
    Runswick-Cole, Katherine
    Sjöberg, Johanna
    Smith, Karen
    Spyrou, Spyros
    Bond Stockton, Kathryn
    Taylor, Affrica
    Zehavi, Ohad
    Zotevska, Emilia
    Arndt, Sonja
    Cardell, David
    Child Studies Multiple: Collaborative play for thinking through theories and methods2023In: Culture Unbound. Journal of Current Cultural Research, ISSN 2000-1525, E-ISSN 2000-1525, Vol. 15, no 1Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This text is an exploration of collaborative thinking and writing through theories, methods, and experiences on the topic of the child, children, and childhood. It is a collaborative written text (with 32 authors) that sprang out of the experimental workshop Child Studies Multiple. The workshop and this text are about daring to stay with mess, “un-closure” , and uncertainty in order to investigate the (e)motions and complexities of being either a child or a researcher. The theoretical and methodological processes presented here offer an opportunity to shake the ground on which individual researchers stand by raising questions about scientific inspiration, theoretical and methodological productivity, and thinking through focusing on process, play, and collaboration. The effect of this is a questioning of the singular academic ‘I’ by exploring and showing what a plural ‘I’ can look like. It is about what the multiplicity of voice can offer research in a highly individualistic time. The article allows the reader to follow and watch the unconventional trial-and-error path of the ongoing-ness of exploring theories and methods together as a research community via methods of drama, palimpsest, and fictionary.

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    fulltext
  • 19.
    Sörbom, Adrienne
    et al.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Stockholm Centre for Organizational Research (SCORE). Södertörns högskola, Sverige.
    Garsten, Christina
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Stockholm Centre for Organizational Research (SCORE).
    Future Fears: Anticipation and the Politics of Emotion in the Future Industry2021In: Culture Unbound. Journal of Current Cultural Research, ISSN 2000-1525, E-ISSN 2000-1525, Vol. 13, no 3, p. 1-25Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This paper is based on ethnographic work in organizations that form part of what we term the Future Industry – e.g. think tanks, consultancies and governmental bodies – involved in the charting, description and analysis of future scenarios. That is to say, an industry explicitly aiming for organizing the future. In the paper we analyze this industry, which we see as serving and feeding into, the emotional streams of contemporary politics and economics. In the interest of selling beliefs of the future, we suggest that it attempts to make its customers sense the pros and cons of the particular future it puts forth. The paper argues that the mapping and selling of futures to a large extent involves the voicing of “problems” and the presentation of “desirable futures”, the cultivation, articulation and management of fear, anxiety, and hope, as well as a reliance on metrics, reason, and evidence, are central components.

  • 20.
    Tolvhed, Helena
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of History.
    Sex Dilemmas, Amazons and Cyborgs: Feminist Cultural Studies and Sport2013In: Culture Unbound. Journal of Current Cultural Research, ISSN 2000-1525, E-ISSN 2000-1525, Vol. 5, p. 273-289Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    In this article, I discuss sport and physical activities as a field of empirical investigation for feminist cultural studies with a potential to contribute to theorizing the body, gender and difference. Sport has, historically, served to legitimize and reinforce the gender dichotomy by making men “masculine” through developing physical strength and endurance, while women generally have been excluded or directed towards activities fostering a “feminine suppleness”. The recent case of runner Caster Semenya, who was subjected to extensive gender tests, demonstrates how athletic superiority and “masculine” attributes in women still today stir public emotions and evoke cultural anxieties of gender blurring. But the rigid gender boundaries have also made sport a field of transgressions. From the “Soviet amazon” of the Cold War, transgressions in sport have publicly demonstrated, but also pushed, the boundaries of cultural understandings of gender. Gender verification tests have exposed a continuum of bodies that cannot easily be arranged into two stable, separate gender categories.

    In spite of the so called “corporeal turn”, sport is still rather neglected within cultural studies and feminist research. This appears to be linked to a degradation, and fear, of the body and of the risk that women – once again – be reduced to biology and physical capacity. But studies of sport might further develop understandings of the processes through which embodied knowledge and subjectivity isproduced, in a way that overcomes the split between corporeality and discursive regimes or representations. Furthermore, with the fitness upsurge since the 1980s, the athletic female body has emerged as a cultural ideal and a rare validation of “female masculinity” (Halberstam) in popular culture. This is an area well-suited for “third wave” feminist cultural studies that are at ease with complexities and contradictions: the practices and commercialized images of the sportswoman are potentially both oppressive and empowering.

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