A Biennial, but why, where, for whom and about what?

A Biennial, but why, where, for whom and about what?

There is every reason to suppose that research into male/female relations to spatiality, place or action gives rise to controversy. In the field of geography gender-based approaches have been questioned with regard to their epistemological basis, their values and their legitimacy, and are now seen as a geographical object, a ‘cognitive construct enabling us to grasp a spatial phenomenon’ (Lévy et Lussault, 2003). There have been times and places for such controversy to be debated (Lyon-Grenoble, 2004), (Bordeaux, 2010), revealing the discipline’s blind spots and screening effects in its analysis of the gender-based relation to space.

Gender is a subject for the social sciences; it is consequently plural in character, written into various forms of theory ranging from marxism, feminism, constructivism and structuralism to post-structuralism, post-modernism, post-colonialism and post-socialism in diverse fields of geography: geopolitics, social, cultural and economic geography, post-colonial geography, the geography of power and development. These postures, often entangled, inevitably adopt a point of view on gender, on what conditions the male/female relation to society, to others and self. Past and ongoing research is heterogeneous. It has highlighted the male/female relation as an instance of differentiation, hierarchization, variability, intersectionality expressing itself in the analysis of the forms of relation to space, time, scales, identities, otherness, nudity, sexuality. The prime fields of research concern mobility and leisure practices, everyday life, the relation to the imaginary, bodies, minorities, art, various forms of work, of resource management, power and of collective organization be they social, cultural, territorial or political ... in the north and south, the centre and the periphery. This list is not exhaustive and debate is very much still open!

Building on this acquis and the impetus given by the Scientific Committee of the Bordeaux symposium, the idea of basing an itinerant biennial on these issues took shape. The next meeting place has been decided and the next session will be held in Grenoble from 10 to 12 December 2012, organized by UMR Pacte-Territoires. It aims to question, explore more deeply, debate and exchange views on the accumulation of reflexive, empirical, methodological or operational learning on the gender relation translated in and by space.

Our call for papers does not only concern members of our discipline. The aim is to address gender in geography and to dialogue with researchers from human and social sciences such as town planning, political science, sociology, anthropology, history and philosophy.

The symposium will be spread over three days and three locations: the Institut de Géographie Alpine (IGA) in Grenoble on Monday 10 December; the Institut d’town planning (IUG) also in Grenoble, on Tuesday 11 December, and MSH Alpes, on the University Campus, on Wednesday 12 December, with two evening exchanges on 10 and 11 December at IUT2 in Grenoble on the question of territory-related jobs from gender perspective.

Scientific coordinator of the symposium : Sophie Louargant








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