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

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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: theresa.okeefe@nuim.ie. Studying Gender Identity in Northern Ireland.

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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: theresa.okeefe@nuim.ie

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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