Gender: Ambivalent In_Visibilities

Journal of Gender Studies - special issue

Special Issue Editor(s)

  • Sylvia Mieszkowski, University of Vienna
  • Elisabeth Holzleithner, University of Vienna
  • Birgit Sauer, University of Vienna

This special issue starts from the premise that “the in_visible” is a complex of problems embedded in globalized cultural, social and political changes, which are triggered by the economisation of the social and political spheres, (forced) migration, pluralism of religion and belief, new media technologies and the narrations they produce. What is in_visible is not a given, but historically specific and a result of contingent processes of in_visibilisation, which manifest on the shifting terrain between public and private spheres. Being and becoming visible is a prerequisite of being politically and socially intelligible, yet visibility does not necessarily or automatically translate into power. And even if such a translation does take place, it can create a host of ambivalences on the way, in which we are particularly interested.

We seek to put together an interdisciplinary special issue with a spectrum of articles from fields such as (but not limited to) philosophy, sociology, anthropology, literary, film or media studies. On the one hand, these contributions should consider (intersectional) gender and/or desire as important categories of analysis; on the other, the submitted abstracts should outline articles that aim to investigate the social practices, cultural meanings and political power structures in which processes of in_visibilisation are embedded, as well as the broad array of images that they produce. Our issue’s goals are analytical and methodological as well as normative, since we are looking to i) explore ways in which in_visibilities create ambivalent, gendered relations of power, subjugation and resistance, and ii) identify and describe transformative strategies that build (and/or subvert) agency, and lend themselves to reflecting on ambivalent processes of governance.

We understand gender as intersecting with other categories that are structured along axes of power (such as sexual orientation, race and ethnicity, religious belief and belonging, dis_ability, class and/or age). How a person’s gender is (supposed to be) performed is contingent on all of these variables in their complex interaction, and the norms of appropriate behaviour are policed on different levels, more or less vigorously, depending on the historical and cultural context. We invite authors to pay particular attention to how processes that in_visibilise subject positions are tied to gender inequalities and/or marginalised genders. The submissions we look forward to receiving should analyse the complex forms, potentialities and opportunities for agency produced through in_visibility and in_visibilisation.

The contributions may include but are not limited to:

  • the ambivalent dynamics of visibilising gender as performance and way of existence;
  • visibilising gender for economic gain: gender advertising and gender targeting;
  • practices of disclosing, assigning and imposing gender, including pre-birth imaging methods, gender reveal parties, etc;
  • the role of in_visibilising gender identity in legal gender assignment;
  • policing gender performance in culture, politics and the law;
  • gender performance as resistance against and subversion of hegemonic gender regimes;
  • in_visibilising gender in politics, media and the arts;
  • in_visiblising gender in politics and the media in times of the covid-19 pandemic;
  • theory-oriented articles on in_visibility, ambivalence and/or ambiguity.

Abstract deadline: 31. October 2021
Manuscript deadline: 31. May 2022

Publication Date:

19 August 2021


31 October 2021