Intersectional Emotionality – Re-thinking Reflexivity within Research Practices & Training in Academia
Marie Larsson, Lund University

On-going debates within feminist and social science research are increasingly highlighting the need for reflexive scholarship (particularly within qualitative research) – both in terms of considering the emotionality of the research process (Brownlie 2014, Burkitt 2012, Doucet 2008, Holland 2005, Mauthner and Doucet 2003) and in terms of applying an intersectional lens and discussing researchers’ social positioning and its effect on research practices (Calafell 2011, Hulko 2009, Jones 2010). Whilst these are significant developments, something is still lacking, namely: a bringing together of the concepts intersectionality and emotionality to better understand the reflexive process and context of research practices in academia. Using my own experiences as a researcher going through studies and training and conducting my own research on contraceptive experiences and attitudes as points of departure, this paper argues that: 1. the ways and academic environment in which we are currently trained as budding researchers is informed by narrow ideas of who the researcher and researched is, which, 2. produces an insufficient conceptualisation of reflexivity and reflexive scholarship. In order to show this, I will unpack some encounters I have had with peers, teachers and researchers during my research studies in both Scotland and Sweden. In doing so, this paper shines a light on a perspective that often goes unacknowledged, that is: that of an under/graduate student and junior researcher. Finally, with this paper I want to contribute to ongoing critical feminist debates on reflexive scholarship by suggesting that reflexivity might best be considered as an amalgamation of intersectionality and emotionality. In doing so, I discuss how to conceptualise reflexivity; how emotionally reflexive approaches lack intersectional analysis; the difficulty of attempting to engage more reflexively with one’s research in current academia; and finally, whether embracing the discomforts of research (Hulko 2009, Jones 2010, Pillow 2003) is an appropriate method of understanding and practising reflexivity as intersectional emotionality.

 

A Feminist Engagement with Systems Medicine
Maria Temmes, Asian University for Women

In my paper, I will investigate what it would mean to form a feminist engagement with systems medicine research. Systems medicine is a recent research approach to complex diseases such as cancer, investigating disease mechanisms at a systems level. Based on fieldwork conducted at the Institute for Molecular Medicine Finland (FIMM), I consider the reasons why gender differences are largely unstudied in systems medicine research despite the growing emphasis on the clinical statistics indicating the need to study gender differences in disease aetiology and treatment outcomes. I argue that it is important to assess this situation both by considering the possibilities of researching gender differences with the big data approach and by questioning how such possibilities are linked to the future goals of personalised medicine. Analysis drawn from my fieldwork will help to explain the epistemological challenges regarding gender differences in diseases. Medical research considering gender differences requires large quantities of standardised biological and environmental data, which is time consuming and expensive to collect and requires special attention to the ways in which data is gathered. By contrast, the analysis of the future goals of personalised medicine requires analysis that goes beyond particular research programs to examining how new biomedical research approaches are connected to broader changes envisioned in societal healthcare strategies. To form a feminist engagement with systems medicine research would require integrating perspectives from personalised medicine and gender medicine. In personalised medicine initiatives the future of healthcare is largely focused on individuals’ own efforts in disease prevention whereas gender medicine initiatives also emphasise societal inequalities as the basis for gender differences in diseases.

 

Gendered boundary work within the Finnish scepticism movement
Pia Vuolanto and Marjo Kolehmainen, Tampere University

The scepticism movement is a world‐wide social movement which aims atstrengthening the status ofscience and scientific knowledge production. However, it is not often recognized as a social movement; perhaps because science is widely seen as non‐political; because research and activism are seen as two separate things; and also because the movement maintains close relationsto academic elites. The movement positions itself as a ‘watchdog’ of scientific knowledge, and strives for strict boundaries between science and non‐ science.

Gender has rarely been taken into account in this kind of work defining the boundaries of science, i.e. boundary work. In our study, we are interested in the gendered aspects of such boundary work that is conducted in the scepticisim movement in the Finnish context. The Finnish movement is a male dominated academic association where natural sciences are well represented. By analysing articles from the Finnish Association of Sceptics’ magazine Skeptikko from years 1988‐2017, we trace out the gendered boundary work by asking: How is gendered boundary‐work mobilised in the Finnish scepticism movement to draw a boundary between science and non‐science? What forms of gendered boundary‐work can be traced in the publications by the Finnish scepticism movement?

We have tracked down six forms of gendered boundary work: 1) Science as masculine, 2) Questioning women, 3) Complementary and alternative medicine as feminine, 4) Debating the status of gender studies, 5) Gender within the scepticism movement, and 6) Supporting equality. In the presentation, we argue that in this kind of boundary work, gendered hierarchies are utilised and produced. Masculinist and colonialist narratives are being used to make boundaries between knowledge and beliefs, science and humbug, progressive and recreational tendencies as well as between individuality and the masses.