An discursive approach to feminist identification and construction of feminism in graduate students' talk

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Drozd, Agata

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University of Guelph

Abstract

Previous work on feminist identity and conceptualizations of feminism indicates that women are ambivalent about feminism, and that many of them support feminist principles while simultaneously rejecting the label "feminist." The purpose of this study was to analyze discursively how feminism is constructed and resisted in focus groups about feminism. Participants were 11 women in two social science graduate programs. Participants made different kinds of feminist identity claims: straightforward claims, and hedged claims, which were more elaborated and qualified. Some participants displayed resistance to making feminist identity claims by invoking negative personal experiences with feminism or feminists. Participants problematized the word "feminism" in various ways and oriented to the concerns of others in their constructions of the category, particularly for definitions of feminism (as choice, equality, and what feminism is not). The research demonstrates the ways in which orientations to feminism and feminist identity reflect participants' local interactional concerns.

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feminism, feminist identity, conceptualizations, women

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