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‘Sometimes it would be nice to be a man’: the salience of gender identity after the Good Friday Agreement. February 6, 2009. Dr. Theresa O’Keefe Department of Sociology National University of Ireland, Maynooth Email: [email protected] Studying Gender Identity in Northern Ireland.

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Dr. Theresa O’Keefe Department of Sociology National University of Ireland, Maynooth

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Dr theresa o keefe department of sociology national university of ireland maynooth

‘Sometimes it would be nice to be a man’: the salience of gender identity after the Good Friday Agreement.February 6, 2009

Dr. Theresa O’Keefe

Department of Sociology

National University of Ireland, Maynooth

Email: [email protected]


Studying gender identity in northern ireland

Studying Gender Identity in Northern Ireland

  • Has the Good Friday Agreement allowed us to move beyond ethno-nationalism when studying identity?

  • Past studies tend to focus on the gendered nature of ethno-nationalism (Aretxaga, Cockburn, O’Keefe, Sales, Ward).

  • Little qualitative work done on gender in its own right. Contemporary Irish Identities Project quite significant as a result.


Difficulties in discussing gender

Difficulties in Discussing Gender

  • How can you raise a discussion about gender identity in a way that is meaningful to the respondent?

  • Is gender identity too ‘naturalised’ to study? What difficulties does this present?


Understandings of gender difference

Understandings of Gender Difference

  • First recollection of difference-could not recall-natural/biological difference-social roles

  • Current understanding-motherhood-femininity


Awareness of gender inequality

Awareness of Gender Inequality

  • Gender inequality is ‘naturalised’/fixed.

  • Gender inequality is changing/changeable.

  • Hegemonic masculinity and difficulties for Northern Irish men.

  • No gender inequality.


Key findings

Key Findings

  • Gender not as salient/clear as one might hope, particularly in comparison to class.

  • Positionality is key.

  • Danger in ‘naturalising’ gender order.


Implications

Implications

  • Women’s/Feminist Organising-importance of positionality

  • Future research-gender identity – gender not as a subtext of ethno-national identity.-relationship between gender identity and under-studied categories (i.e. class, sexuality, ability).


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