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Materiality and Gender

Our research context in the research area Materiality and Gender investigates the relationship between technology and care relationships in processes of knowledge production and contemporary social upheaval configurations. The starting point of our research project is the problematization of the binary gendered juxtaposition of technology and care, and thus the contemporary challenge to focus the entanglement of knowledge, technology and responsibility or of care relationships. With our conceptualization of 'gender' as a provisional demarcation of relational matter "a form of capacity to act comes into view that does not emanate from categories, binarity and homogeneity", but from relations and entanglements, and thus "shows politics of exclusion, insofar as it deals with the impossibility of excluding". (e.g. Bath/Meißner/Trinkaus/Völker 2013, p. 21) Here we understand processes of knowledge production as socio-technical apparatuses of the production of phenomena that generate certain relevance and exclusions and must thus always be understood as care practices, relationships and techniques of the production of the world or of a more-than-human-social. This fundamentally requires a methodological reorientation from relationships of representation to explorative method designs, which understand research methods themselves as part of the phenomena to whose emergence and persistence of they contribute, and in this sense understand research methods themselves as care practices. Thus, our project also aims at developing methodologies of New Materialism that allow non-human, i.e. technical actors to actively participate in the research process and becoming of the world.

The research group of the University of Cologne (Prof. Dr. Susanne Völker, Dr. Lisa Handel) with the University of Bielefeld (Prof. Dr. Diana Lengersdorf, Prof. Dr. Tomke König, PD Dr. Stephan Trinkaus) and the Technical University of Braunschweig (Prof. Dr. Corinna Bath) comprises the submission of individual proposals and at the same time aims at the establishment of a cross-university research group.

Our research context in the research area Materiality and Gender investigates the relationship between technology and care relationships in processes of knowledge production and contemporary social upheaval configurations. The starting point of our research project is the problematization of the binary gendered juxtaposition of technology and care, and thus the contemporary challenge to focus the entanglement of knowledge, technology and responsibility or of care relationships. With our conceptualization of 'gender' as a provisional demarcation of relational matter "a form of capacity to act comes into view that does not emanate from categories, binarity and homogeneity", but from relations and entanglements, and thus "shows politics of exclusion, insofar as it deals with the impossibility of excluding". (e.g. Bath/Meißner/Trinkaus/Völker 2013, p. 21) Here we understand processes of knowledge production as socio-technical apparatuses of the production of phenomena that generate certain relevance and exclusions and must thus always be understood as care practices, relationships and techniques of the production of the world or of a more-than-human-social. This fundamentally requires a methodological reorientation from relationships of representation to explorative method designs, which understand research methods themselves as part of the phenomena to whose emergence and persistence of they contribute, and in this sense understand research methods themselves as care practices. Thus, our project also aims at developing methodologies of New Materialism that allow non-human, i.e. technical actors to actively participate in the research process and becoming of the world.

The research group of the University of Cologne (Prof. Dr. Susanne Völker, Dr. Lisa Handel) with the University of Bielefeld (Prof. Dr. Diana Lengersdorf, Prof. Dr. Tomke König, PD Dr. Stephan Trinkaus) and the Technical University of Braunschweig (Prof. Dr. Corinna Bath) comprises the submission of individual proposals and at the same time aims at the establishment of a cross-university research group.

 

Gender Studies and Social Inequalities: Intersections of Gender, Sexuality, Race, Class, Dis/ability:

(1) Eribon revisited - Perspektiven der Gender und Queer Studies - D-A-CH-Publikationsprojekt zu Theorien und Empirien sozialer Ungleichheiten (class, race, sexuality, gender), edited by Prof. Dr. Elke Kleinau and Prof. Dr. Susanne Völker (University of Cologne).

At the phenomenal level of social processes and practices, there are ongoing constellations of social inequalities that are at the same time constantly changing in their links and weighting. Current research in this field and its theoretical and methodological reflection have motivated far-reaching shifts in the analytical version of social inequalities: for example, to the entanglement of diverse dimensions and dynamics of social classification (intersectionality research), to the geopolitical location of inequality debates (objections from a postcolonial and decolonial perspective), or to the connection between sexuality and social classes (most recently the work of Didier Eribon).

Our aim is to make Eribon's writings the starting point and to ask how they contribute to the reconfiguration of debates on social inequality and educational processes. We have invited researchers* from various disciplines in Switzerland, Austria and Germany to conduct this debate with us within the framework of a workshop and a publication.

(2) Precarisation and privileging as subjective experience and everyday practice - project by Prof. Dr. Susanne Völker and Prof. Dr. Anne Waldschmidt (University of Cologne).

The project investigates the sociological question of inequality, how experiences of precarization and/or privileging are experienced and lived in concrete biographical constellations and situational practices. The aim is to investigate how intersectionally differently positioned subjects deal in their life contexts with complex, often contradictory social invocations and arrangements, how they perceive their life paths and life situations as a set of conditions and at the same time produce and (re)shape them practically in biographical action. Which effects of social differentiation and hierarchization (e.g. class, race, gender, dis/ability, sexuality, age) are intertwined and interfere with each other in which relations and in which ways? Which social structures and practices open up or narrow biographical scope (or do both at the same time)? With which subjective 'knowledge' and which 'identities' are these spaces of action connected?

In preparation is the application for an individual project, integrated into the thematic priorities of iDiS (International Research Centre Disability Studies, UzK), GeStiK (Gender Studies in Köln, UzK) and in cooperation with SINTER (Competence Field V Social Inequalities and Intercultural Education, UzK).

(3) Sexual Education, Heterogeneity and Inclusion - Research Conference from 16 to 17 November 2018 in cooperation with SINTER (organized by Prof. Dr. Elke Kleinau, Prof. Dr. Susanne Völker, Prof. Dr. Lisa Rosen (University of Cologne) and Dr. Karla Verlinden (Düsseldorf University of Applied Sciences).

The research conference continues the thematic focus 'Sexual Education' at the Department of Education and Social Sciences of the Faculty of Human Sciences of the UzK and the cooperation with GeStiK in this field. The different theoretical approaches, the practices of educational institutions, questions of dis/ability and gender diversity as well as the experiences of flight and migration for the demands on sexual education will be discussed.