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M.Bonfili-Philosophy of Law, 2015.  The gender category undergoes a deep transformation of meaning in the context of the post-modern deconstructionist.

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Presentation on theme: "M.Bonfili-Philosophy of Law, 2015.  The gender category undergoes a deep transformation of meaning in the context of the post-modern deconstructionist."— Presentation transcript:

1 M.Bonfili-Philosophy of Law, 2015

2  The gender category undergoes a deep transformation of meaning in the context of the post-modern deconstructionist perspective  De-constructionism, leads to extreme consequences of anti-essentialism.  It is not easy to give a definition of deconstruction as the authors of this line of thought intentionally avoid defining the concept

3   distruction of the possibility of systematisation and unification   its the revindication of the “other” as something which is unthought of and excluded from any categorization   denies possibility of elaboration of unique and absolute concepts and meanings

4 is close to deconstructionism: it goes against every structure as an organic whole decomposable into elements, whose functional value is determined by the totality of relationships betweeen each separate level and all the others intends to de-strucuture  shake foundations of each structure/exalt disorder as liberation from repressions imposed by the structured system

5  This line of thought radicalizes the premises of social constructionism: Post-structuralist deconstructonism marks a radical change in the way of understanding the gender category, bringing it toward the extinction of the same meaning

6 Social cosntructionism believed that gender was the product of socialization, that is the construction of meaning in a given society, in a historical era, within a certain culture.

7  Deconstructionism goes further   By interpreting this outcome of social constructionism as a structure produced and organized by power, which should therefore be de-constructed and de-structured

8 Gender=  as a social construction is a “compulsory mask” imposed from the above and power hides behind it depends on the creation of social hierarchy it is a fictional construction, no basis or foundation  nature is only presumed since it is constructed by power just as society

9  In order to allow the contingent/multiple individual to express freely, it is necessary to:  dismantle structures (cancelling each organization and hierarchy)  expose power

10 Social construction of gender is de-constructed to give space to individual construction. Social constructionism does not deny natural sex it separates it from culturally elaborated gender Post-structural deconstructioism abandons socio-cultural gender moving as far away as denying natural sex, exalts“individual gender”.

11  Social constructionism:  Gender might not concide with natural sex  Post-structural deconstructionism  “Individual gender” might not match with “social gender”  The anti-essentilaism already thematized by social constructionism in relation to nature, is further expressed in realtion to society and culture.

12  The starting point and the root of gender, in the postmodern perspective, is the individual not society nor nature.  It is the individual that decides the gender personally desired and wanted, regardless of nature and society.

13  In this context it is argued that gender “can”, indeed “should, be regardless of sex.  The term gender is used as prescriptive  that is as what must be the expression of individual desire and no longer as descriptive of a socio-cultural process (social constructionism)

14  Although author has not directly engaged study of gender  The post-modern theories of gender refer explicitly to the concept developed by him  The author denies natural sexuality  theorizes sexuality as a result of a complex process of social construction(“socialization of sexuality”)

15  Foucault: Sexuality is not a permanent essence of human beings, but it’s the product of:  history  society  context  discourse and power  “biopower”

16  In the Foucauldian perspective   “Biopower” has developed discourses on sex to control the human body with birth and population control  Sexuality is a discoursive creation and an artificial invention of power used as an instrument of domination or control mechanism

17  It is power through speech, language and society, which gives meaning to bodies, practices and desires.

18  Each social group is a regulatory srtucture, which:  defines bodies  disciplines behaviours  excludes other bodies acts and desires  Determines what is to be considered normal/natural vs abnormal/unatural

19  Foulcault’s idea that both body and sexuality are cultural cosntructs rather than natural phenomena contributed to the feminist and post-feminist critique of essentialism.  In this sense gender theories, in the context of post- femminism and postmodernism, become the objects of application of his method.  Many theories intend to deconstruct social sex and gender, considering it the means to liberate the body, identity and subjectivity of the individual from the claim of natural or social essence, presumed as one,homogenous,static and stable.

20  This perspective breaks down identity into an heterogenous identification process  With the consequent rejection of all categories: even the sex gender category

21  It is in the context of de-constructionism that the gender category gives way to the queer theory.  Queer means: strange,weird, oblique.  For some aspects the queer theory presents lines of continuity with the gender theories; for other aspects it introduces new elements that break through the previous thought.

22  Influenced by some currents of femminism but does not focus on the issue of the women’s subordination  Generally speaking we can say that it rejects the essentialist nature of theories of identity based on binary oppositions like male/female, gay/straight and argues there is another space outside which is “queer”.

23  Two elements that carachterize “queerness” or “queering”:  Polymorphism:  Expressed in problematization and denial of sexual binarism:  Queer indicates a way of thinking and living sexuality in contrast to the rigid binary male or female classification  Rejects any oppositional binary code

24  Queer expands gender category including not only sex but even sexuality as sexual orientation: “Set of behaviours, attitudes and acts and desires aimed at the bond with the other, the attraction towards the other” Attraction  erotic/romantic sense

25  Other element that characterizes queer  Problematizes and denies heterosexuality as privileged in society  Queer considers every sexual orientation equivalent  whether it is expressed towards the opposite sex or the same sex or both sexes  It is the exaltation of omnisexuality/multisexuality where every sexual preference is justified by the simple fact it is expressed towards someone regardless of whom they are  Exaltation of every sexual preference

26  “queer” is therefore an amorphous and open term: a flexible, fluid, variable, permeable category against closed impermeable, fixed dichotomies

27  The frequent expressions:  “Neither” female “nor”male  “Either” female “or” male Show the ambivalence and ambiguity that breaks down the opposite dichotimies of female and male duality

28  Queer  “umbrella term” which refers to many theories that have in common the liberalisation of sexuality making “normal” what was considered “abnormal”

29  Institutionally, queer has been associated with LGBTI  Widely used acronym  Indicates lesbian,gay,bisexual, transexual/transgender/transevestites and intersex.

30  individual that lives the non-correspondance between biological sex and psycho-social gender and intervenes to permanently modify their body for a complete sex riassignment  male-to-female, who passes from male to female or the femminization of the male,  female-to-male; who passes from female to male or masculinization of the female

31  Individual that expresses, transitory or steadily, a gender identity that is not in line with the sex at birth and combines both male and female features and behaviour, wavering from one gender to the other with a partial modification of the body if needs be  Trans-woman: individual born male and lives like a woman  Trans-man: individual born female and lives like a man

32 Transvestitism (or cross-dressing)  Phenomenon referred to individuals that have the habit of intentionally wearing publically or privately, clothes that are usualyy and traditionally associated with the opposite sex Intersexual  Condition of sexual ambiguities (genetic,gonadic,hormonal,morphological) due to contemporary presence of features of both sexes

33  Within different communities expresses kind of solidarity amongst different individuals  joined by the will to provoke the traditional paradigm and transgress and destabilize the usual social rules

34  share common feature of constructing their gender identities in opposition to biological determinism and essentialism  Their intention is to problematize on theoreticla level and withstand on practical level rigid sexual dimorphism and heterocentricism

35  Rejects any hierarchy in relation to sexual identity and sexual orientation: diffrerence is considered to be cause of hierarchy that consequently widens the distance between normal considered superior and abnormal considered inferior.  One can be either a woman in a female body, both by transforming the body (like transexuals) and also by accepting the ambiguity, hybridity, and male/female coexistence (intersex,transgender).

36  Intersexuality is exalted as an intermediate sexual condition “between” and “beyond” the condition of female and male  Masculinity or femininty becomes a matter of degree, varying in percentage and intensity from individual to individual, based on the presence or ansence of certain characterisitcs.  Queer theory considers a duty to choose to assign the subjects with severe genital ambiguity to a third gender, neither male or female therefore male and female.

37  In this perspective each individual should have the possibility to make a personal choice regarding sexual re-assignment or even acceptance of one’s condition, be it even “intersex” without forced normalization, that is the feminization of the male or the masculinisation of the female.

38  Hormonal treatments or irreversible surgery on children are therefore deemed illicit, in order that the individual can grow in the intersex state and as adults can choose (or even not choose) on the basis of individual will.

39  Criticizes transexualism which forces the transformation of the body’s sex according to gender, returnong to the conformity of sexual binarism  Prefers sexual indetermination to determination  Transgender condition is preferred to transexualism  Transgender is someone that expresses in the body and behaviour a gender identity that is disjointed and not aligned to sex

40  Is any multiple, plural or variable identity  Any behaviour generally and traditionally considered deviant and transgressive  It questions stable fixed idenities  It deconstructs social representations  Idenity does not exist/only identification exists


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