Academic Community Holds Symposium on Gender, Modernization

August 9, 2018  Editor: Xie Wen

The Chinese Sociological Association recently invited professionals to participate in its annual academic conference in Nanjing, east China's Jiangsu province to discuss issues regarding gender and modernization over the past four decades.

According to experts, localization cannot be simply understood as the opposite of Westernization or internationalization. People should respect the multidisciplinary vision of gender research and the diversity of scholars, based on solid research standards.

In one speech, Wu Xiaoying, a researcher at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS), said that since 2000, the gender theory has been applied to study sociological issues. On the one hand, this has completed a certain degree of enlightenment for repositioning the relationship between the women/gender issues with other social issues.

On the other hand, Wu stated, the research focus has shifted from women's studies to gender-based learning, which reflects the ambitions of researchers in this field on expanding more general knowledge issues rather than sticking to one single gender analysis.

Wu also presented her expectations of realizing a vision whereby people are actually connected by discussing gender topics, instead of being divided, and maintain a sensibility on women's practices and diversity in different classes in time and space.

Fan Xuan, from China Women's University, Zhu Hua, from Shanghai Ocean University, and Zhang Zhihui, from Shanghai University, all expressed their agreement on Wu's expectations from the perspective of theoretical disputes of gender socialization and the latest research.

They also discussed the main body of knowledge production, the transnational flow of Chinese female intellectual groups and gender research and cultural studies in terms of domestic violence research.

In the dialogue generated between Wu and Zhang on the different issues brought about by cultural studies into domestic violence and gender research, Wu said that people should not ignore the fact that gender research itself has broken through gender duality in recent years.

Meanwhile, participants focused on the relationship between capital, gender and labor, and conducted key discussions on the pros and cons of whether groups of different genders, generations, and classes have equally shared, or might share, the developments of modernity.

Professor Jin Yihong from Nanjing Normal University Jinling College, took the mobility of the countryside vested by modernization over the past 40 years as the background of research, and discussed the changes in the production and reproduction of rural families in geographical and social space.

Jin also analyzed the relationship of mobility and modernity and the gender difference of the mobility.

She expressed her consideration of the different mechanisms by which the mobility acted on different genders and the sense of identity acquired by women in the process of moving. Thus, she concluded that bondage was not only from the land, but also affected by marriage, family systems and gender norms.

Professor Tong Xin of Peking University analyzed household labor and the outsourcing of women in the era of consumption from the perspective of knowledge production in terms of the new family and life modes.

She also discussed gender consumption and labor in middle-class lifestyle construction, and proposed a question about whether the relationship between a master and a servant would return to tradition in the era of consumption replacing labor based on knowledge reconstruction of the living logic of the consumerism.

Professor Liu Aiyu from Peking University responded to this series of thoughts with two questions — "In what form did capital appear and shaped our society?" and "What kind of gender mechanism did it create to maintain the relationship between the ideal laborer and the ideal production and reproduction?"

They also discussed about how might feminists realize the social responsibility of promoting their ideas facing with the utilitarianism of personal appeal in the individualized era; and how to deal with the needs of individual women to solve practical confusion under the premise of adhering to the strategic position of gender equality, also aroused strong resonance and heated discussion among the participants.

Associate Professor Shen Yifei of Fudan University discussed the issue of gender equality communication strategies in the context of the internet.

Shen said that in the era of WeMedia, which is a means of stimulating emotional resonance, whether positive or negative, feminists who tried to pursue rationality in historical stigmatization and have experienced long-term marginalization in the academic field, on the contrary, lost their power and influence in the process of dissemination.

Shen emphasized that scholars must face the challenges brought about by the new media, and realize that the marketing strategy, business logic and kitsch culture in which they operate should not be regarded as vulgar, but they must understand, compete with, and may even have to learn or apply it themselves.

It was observed that although the research of young scholars have sometimes been peripheral and immature, they have brought up many new research themes and perspectives that closely follow the changing of the times, which makes diversity and inclusiveness in gender research be further reflected upon, according to the professors.

The article was contributed by Zhao Yuan, director of the Women/Gender Study and Training Base of Nanjing University and Yang Di, associate professor of Nanjing Normal University Jinling College.

(Source: Fnews.cc/Translated and edited by Women of China)

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