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Aims, Theses and Goals

Gender Studies: Trans- and Interdisciplinarity, Intersectionality

Gender studies can be characterized by their pronounced interdisciplinarity. Gender is a central organizing category of human societies. Sex differences were principally regarded as natural givens that determined the lives of men and women, usually through institutionalized gendered hierarchies. Feminist theory, women's and gender studies have, with some success, challenged these assumptions and inspired political movements that aim to dismantle male supremacy in its diverse manifestations, among them gendered violence. Gender is conceptualized as one of several vectors of power that intersect in multiple ways. Race and ethnicity, class and ability, sexual orientation and cultural embeddedness have come to be regarded as essential components of gender norms.

The Era of Globalization

Globalization processes have significantly transformed economic and social relations and new scales of politics. These processes have released new dynamics of violence, but also of and agency and resistance to violence.

The logic of globalization is inherently gendered and, in several respects, works to the detriment of women. The dynamics of global restructuring are driven by the removal, displacement and replacements of borders between the national and international level, but also between the social spheres of economy and state, market and family, and those between public and private. All these (displaced) borders are central to the gendered nature of modern institutions, of gender roles and gender regimes and their global restructuring.

Violence and vulnerability: global and local

Violence and its devastating effects on agency have been a crucial factor that stabilized local and global gender hierarchies. It is one of the core assumptions of the IK that new forms of gendered violence, accompanied by new strategies of resistance and empowerment, emerge in the context of global restructuring. However, these new forms of gender-based violence have to be contextualized in patriarchal structures and traditions of violence against women.

Violence is a multi-faceted concept that needs careful examination. It has to be differentiated from terms such as power, hegemony, coercion, and its implications for agency have to be analyzed with attentiveness to context and detail.

The IK aims at analyzing questions of violence and agency from four transversal perspectives:

the reconstitution of intersecting relations of axes of power such as gender, class,nation, religion, sexuality and age;

the establishment and restructuring of violence and agency in different social spheres such as society, politics, economy, religion, cultural representation and legal implementations;

the impact of collective and individual actors as well as their local and global strategies of mobilization, organization and legitimization;

• and the interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary reformulation of theoretical concepts and methodological approaches in academic disciplines involved.



Univ. Prof. Dr. Birgit Sauer

Institut für Politikwissenschaft
Universitätsstr. 7
A-1010 Vienna
University of Vienna | Universitätsring 1 | 1010 Vienna | T +43-1-4277-0