tampereen yliopisto: yhteiskuntatieteiden tiedekunta: tutkimus: konferenssit ja seminaarit: naistutkimuspäivät 2012: in english:
Yhteiskuntatieteiden tiedekuntaTampereen yliopistoYhteiskuntatieteiden tiedekunta
Naistutkimuspäivät 2012


There are two workshop sessions in the conference, on Friday 16th November from 3 to 5.30 p.m. and on Saturday 17th November from 9.30 to 11.30 a.m. Five workshops listed below have presentations in English.

The abstracts are also available in pdf-form. There is no printed abstract books available at the conference.


Gender identity - revisiting the concept of identity and the politics of difference

Representations of gendered violence

Postcolonial and transnational spaces – and futures

Queer – between politics and literature

Family, law, power and parenting experts

Trans* perspectives


Gender identity – revisiting the concept of identity and the politics of difference

Chairs: Bronwyn Davies (University of Melbourne, Australia) and Hanna Ojala (University of Tampere,
Room: Linna 6018

Friday 16th of November 2012, 15:00-17:40 (NB closing time)

15:00-15:35 prof. Bronwyn Davies: Gender identity - revisiting the concept of identity and the politics of difference
15:35-16:05 Salla Tuori: Politics of listening and possibilities of surprise 
16:05-16:35 Julia Dahlberg: Intellectual Work and Gender Identity at the Break of the 20th Century
16:35-17:05 Salla Peltonen: Ethics and the politics of difference: Case Rosi Braidotti and Judith Butler
17:05-17:35 Kirsi LaPointe: Gendered identity and agency in career change

Salla Tuori: Politics of listening and possibilities of surprise

In my paper I will discuss listening and possibilities for surprise in a context of multicultural project work. I have studied constructions of multiculturalism within project work, understanding it primarily through encounters, politics and power relations. I will concretely analyse and discuss “helping” in the context of migrant integration. Helping the migrants is a dominant frame of speaking in otherwise diverse locations of integration discourses in the Finnish context. I propose that understanding integration work as helping can impede listening. To listen is not a passive position or a non-reciprocal one, but includes careful acts of listening and letting oneself to be surprised. It means to be able to listen also to disturbing or unfamiliar ways of speaking and not letting oneself to “know” from before what is said. To listen means to acknowledge the complexities and controversies. In the paper, I will also discuss politics of listening in relation to recognition and difference.


Julia Dahlberg: Intellectual Work and Gender Identity at the Break of the 20th Century

Helena Westermarck (1857–1938) and Edvard Westermarck (1862–1939) were sister and brother. They were both well known to the Finnish public at the break of the 20th century: Helena as an artist, writer and women’s rights activist and her younger brother Edvard as a philosopher, anthropologist and first professor of sociology at the London School of Economics as well as professor of philosophy at the University of Helsinki. Both siblings were unmarried and although they did not share each other’s lives at a day-to-day basis, they shared a very close and often surprisingly equal intellectual relationship. This relationship can be studied through their waste correspondence and other ego-documents.

Both sister and brother placed a significant importance in their work as a mean of achieving happiness and personal satisfaction in life. This attitude hade many similarities to present-day believe in individual self-actualization and personal fulfillment. The paper will discuss the Westermarck siblings’ attitude to intellectual work and what intellectual work meant to them in relation to their gender identity. What differences did they see between men and women as intellectual beings – or perhaps between themselves as brother and sister?


Salla Peltonen: Ethics and the politics of difference: Case Rosi Braidotti and Judith Butler

Judith Butler and Rosi Braidotti have both turned to questions of ethics in their recent works, relating questions of ethics to livable and precarious lives, the notion of the human and the non-human others, global politics, desires, pain, relationality and vulnerability. Braidotti, describes her affirmative ethics as “Spinozist in its materialist foundations and productive in its political economy” and claims that it “could not be further removed from the dialectics of Lack, Law and Signifier which have dominated […] Derridean deconstruction and the queer theories that rely on these schemes of thought” (Braidotti 2005/2006, see also 2006). Butler, on the other hand, understands ethics as non-violence, as a question of the subject’s relation to the other, and as a politics of recognition: “the other is recognized and confers recognition through a set of norms that govern recognizability” (Butler 2005: 25, see also 2004).

In this presentation I analyze the ways in which Braidotti and Butler address the question of ethics as a question of the subject and its relation to the world. For Butler norms precede the subject and also offer the framework of recognition of the other, the social context conditions the way in which a moral question emerges (2005). For Braidotti moral change likewise occurs in the critique of existing norms, habits of thought and is a question of transforming negative passions into positive ones. Braidotti’s frame of reference is transformation through interaction with multiple others. Both address the question of ethics as a question of the subject’s relation to norms. In my presentation I discuss the question of how norms condition our understanding of morality, but how they also take form as the limits of intelligibility, as a moral question. By addressing the ways in which norms also condition our critical responses, I ask what it means to live shared lives and how our shared moral responses forms limits for what we can comprehend morally in the first place.  What are the challenges of theorizing gender, sexuality and sexual difference as a question of ethics through the concepts of affirmation and recognition?


Kirsi LaPointe: Gendered identity and agency in career change

The purpose of this paper is to better understand the space for agency in working life. I approach this issue by examining the practices of identity work in the context of career change. In conceptualizing identity and agency, I use literature on identity work within organizations studies (Alvesson & Willmott, 2002; Sveningsson & Alvesson, 2003) as well as narrative, discursive and cultural approaches to identity and agency (Bamberg & Georgakopoulou, 2008; Davies & Harré, 1990; De Fina, Schiffrin, & Bamberg, 2006; Holstein & Gubrium, 2000). Within this approach, identity is seen as a narrative practice that allows an examination of how identities are done in the context of specific practices and what the possibilities and constraints for the agency of embodied subjects are. The paper is based on an empirical study among eight female Finnish business professionals who were seeking a career change.  The empirical material is from two rounds of narrative interviews - the second round carried out four years after the first one.  I will show how these women were imagining new identities during the first round of interviews and how their identity positioning had changed after four years. In particular, I will examine how they have been able to enact change and how their agency is gendered. Although most of the women had not been able to make desired changes, I will argue that agency also takes place within identity work in the form of re-positioning oneself. In this work, gender is both a resource and constraint.

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Representations of gendered violence

Chairs: Sanna Karkulehto (sanna.j.karkulehto(a) and Leena-Maija Rossi (rossi(a)

Room Linna 5026

Friday 16.11. 15:00-17:30

15:00-15:30 Tiina Mäntymäki: Lover, Avenger or Deadly Delusionist. Women murderers in contemporary crime fiction
15:30-16:00 Aino-Kaisa Koistinen: “You can’t rape a machine” – Constructing Humanity Through (Gendered) Violence in the Re-Imagined Battlestar Galactica
16:00-16:30 Regina Opoku: Gendered Violence: Patterns and Causes of Women Against Women Violence in the Lake Zone Regions of Tanzania, East Africa
16:30-17:00 Hanna Mikkola: Not-eating and lack of Sexual Desire: Representations of Power and Sexual Violence in Finnish Eating Disorder Novels
17:00-17:30 Vanina Mozziconacci: What makes sexual representations violent? Representation and presence, metonymy and metaphor


Mäntymäki, Tiina: Lover, Avenger or Deadly Delusionist. Women murderers in contemporary crime fiction

Women murderers have always been part of the popular representation of violence. In the 1970s the ways of presenting the violent woman began to increase and change, and particularly the 1990s witnessed a significant increase of narratives in which female violence was discussed. Female action heroines, working in the grey area on both sides of the law began to invade the cinema, and crime writers began to choose tough female detectives as protagonists of their stories.

The representations of these agentive women in popular narrative have been studied a great deal, but the women murderers in crime fiction have almost completely missed academic interest. For feminism, promoting analyses of female agency is a central concern, and since violence is one of the areas in which gender and power is negotiated, the mechanisms of how this negotiation takes place as well as the meanings it generates in different texts should be examined.

In my paper, I discuss the ways in which women murderers are represented in contemporary crime fiction during the two past decades. What are the women who murder like? Are the representations primarily reactionary, reproducing stereotypical conceptions of femininity? Or alternatively, do they genuinely engage in pointing out and analyzing changes in the mechanisms of how gender, power and violence are produced and maintained in society?


Koistinen, Aino-Kaisa: “You can’t rape a machine” – Constructing Humanity Through (Gendered) Violence in the Re-Imagined Battlestar Galactica

Science fiction has always been interested in the relations between humans and their so called alien others. The aliens often highlight the differences between “us” and “the others:” they represent what is not human in order to exemplify that which is human. However, the competing tradition has been to use aliens to hold up a mirror to humanity by highlighting the corruption of Western society, which undercuts these very same differences. In my paper I will discuss how humanity is constructed through representations of violence in the science fiction television series Battlestar Galactica (2003-2009). The series begins with a war between humans and their “alien others”, the human-like machines Cylons. The Cylons are, at first, represented as the enemy, but as the series progresses the boundaries between “us” (humans) and “the others” (the aliens/ the enemies) become blurred. This is especially negotiated in the scenes discussing torture and violence. My analysis connects the series to theoretical debates that consider meeting others ethically, as put forward in the work of Judith Butler and Sara Ahmed. I argue, that as the series blurs the boundaries between humans and their alien others it questions the justification of violence that is based on the distinction between “us” and “them.” This creates interesting connections between Ahmed’s and Butler’s work and the series studied. I will concentrate especially on gendered violence, particularly rape, and the way that rape both humanizes and dehumanizes the Cylon women that are raped—and how it affects the humanity of the human rapists.


Opoku, Regina: Gendered Violence: Patterns and Causes of Women Against Women Violence in the Lake Zone Regions of Tanzania, East Africa

The study explores the less documented phenomenon and dynamics of violence perpetuated by women against women in Mwanza city, Musoma, and Ukerewe Island communities of Tanzania. In most African culture, traditional practices such as female genital cutting, widow cleansing rituals and woman to woman marriage continues to exist, and it has affected the livelihood of many women and girls. The aim of the study is to examine the patterns that sustain these traditional practices and to raised unawareness within the confines of power relation and dominate cultural and religious beliefs. In order to examine this case, qualitative research method was used in the study (n=24) in-depth interviews and (n=8) focus group’s discussions was conducted to collect empirical data. The data collected show that there is a cultural of silence in the patriarchal society about the types of violence that arises from traditional practices and secondly, that in the attempt to preserve the cultural heritage ‘the woman’ is seen as a perpetuator of cultural practice as well as a victim of the practice. Historically, although the context of this indicates that patriarchy culture and gender are often defined by traditional practices under the principles of customs among the people. However, such basic assumptions eventually go unexamined and continue to foster gender bias and inequality.    


Hanna Mikkola: Not-eating and lack of Sexual Desire: Representations of Power and Sexual Violence in Finnish Eating Disorder Novels

Utilization of power in its different forms is a common and vividly depicted theme in Finnish eating disorder novels (Mikkola 2012). These novels describe e. g. attitudes, actions, surroundings and control which are targeted at girl and women characters’ gender and sexuality.

In this presentation I consider different utilizations of power directed at not-eating or eating ”in a wrong way” and sexual violence directed at lack of sexual desire. Actions of power and control are centrally related to food, eating and sexuality in the novels. Those forms are gendered and very often also related to sexuality. Depictions of physical sexual violence are rather repetitious in these novels but in this representation my focus is on representations of other type of power actions and forms of gendered and sexual violence. The forms of non-physical sexual violence in the novels include varied scale of constraining in situations of sexual interaction as well as in discussions concerning sexual interactions. These all can be categorized as representations of sexual violence towards lack of desire (See Kelly 1987 & 1988).

The key questions I ask in this presentation are: How the novels describe power towards lack of desire/ not wanting something? How different actors (school, health care, family, boyfriends) control the characters that have difficulties with eating? How the control towards eating and sexuality are related? What kind of power mechanisms are used to produce ideal girls and women, and their bodies and sexuality? What kind of sexual violence is targeted at lack of sexual desire?


Mozziconacci, Vanina: What makes sexual representations violent? Representation and presence, metonymy and metaphor

Representations of gendered violence often take the form of sexualization and sexual objectification. Indeed, violence includes depersonalization as it seizes the capacity of expressing oneself from its victim. But since representing something implies to replace it, any representation prevents the depicted thing from directly expressing itself. This must be borne in mind to distinguish the relationship between a viewer and a representation and, on the other hand, the relationship between this very viewer and the depicted thing (or person), when they are both present. This distinction will enable us to criticize some accusations against some images of sexuality. But if all representations somehow objectify what they represent, why are some of them, especially sexualized ones, violent? We think, and this is the second point of our analysis, that a criterion is needed to establish their violent nature, this criterion being their metonymic style. We will show how images of sexuality are violent when they are metonymic (metonymies of individuals, of contexts, of ends) and what it means to represent sexuality in an opposite way, the metaphoric way – considering metaphor as a tension and not as an inert image.

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Postcolonial and transnational spaces – and futures

Chairs: Anitta Kynsilehto ( and Tiina Vaittinen (tiina.vaittinen(a)

Room: Linna 4013

Friday 16th Nov 15:00-17:30

15:00-16:30: Economic spaces and futures
15:00-15:20: Suvi Lyytinen: Gendered order of work and its changes – the Case of Eastern Lapland
15:20-15:40: Heidi Sinevaara-Niskanen: Gender, Economy and Development in the North
15:40-16:00: Satu Ranta-Tyrkkö: Genders and Ethnicities in and around Mining Industry?
16:00-16:30: Discussion
16:30-17:30: Storied spaces and futures
16:30-16:50: Tuija Saarinen: Moving west. Stories and storytelling of crossing the border
16:50-17:10: Hanna-Leena Nissilä: Transnationalizing Finnish literature – definitions in the reception of Ranya El Ramly's Auringon asema ja Alexandra Salmela's 27 eli kuolema tekee taiteilijan
17:10-17:30: Discussion

Saturday 17th Nov 9:30-11:30

9:30-10:30: Exiled spaces and futures
9:30-9:50: Julia Honkasalo: Exile without exit: Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon
9:50-10:10: Anitta Kynsilehto: Hubs of transit migration as gendered sites
10:10-10:30: Discussion
10:30-11:30: Postcolonial spaces and futures
10:30-10:50: Angelica Pesarini: The construction of Italian identity. From colonial racial segregation to postcolonial citizenship rights
10:50-11:10: Tiina Vaittinen: Postcolonial trajectories: Notes from an aging welfare state
11:10-11:30: Discussion


Friday 16th Nov, 15:00-17:30

Suvi Lyytinen: Gendered order of work and its changes – the Case of Eastern Lapland

Transnational movements of work have had a profound impact on the Finnish labour market over the past few decades. Our society has been changing towards a post-industrial society and much of the change has been more or less forced. Many Finnish communities have had to face the situation where industrial jobs flee from our country to other ones with much cheaper labour force. State owned companies, which have long been thought of as protectors of national interests, have started to transform into transnational actors with hardly other objectives than profitability. This structural societal change creates varying problems in the local level, where the industrial workers unexpectedly lose their jobs and must create a livelihood in a transformed labour market that does not offer appropriate job opportunities.

In my research for the Lapin Letka -project (ESR), I investigate what kinds of gendered outcomes has the above-described transnational process created in the local area of Eastern Lapland. In the year 2008 locally important Stora Enso’s pulp mill was closed in order to improve profitability of the company’s other mills. My focus is on structural measures taken by the state of Finland, that were intended to create new job opportunities for the unemployed pulp mill workers, mainly men. These measures predominantly included the state’s financial support to attract investments and the local Employment and Economic Development Office’s actions to employ these people. I will examine what kinds of consequences have these two types of measures had for the gender order of the Eastern Lapland. To be exact, I will deliberate if there has been any shifts in the segregation of work or if the measures merely have reproduced the traditional order of men’s work as more recognized than women’s.


Heidi Sinevaara-Niskanen: Gender, Economy and Development in the North

The North, and the Barents region as a part of it, is facing many changes and challenges. Environmental changes are both threatening traditional livelihoods, local economies and social communities, but also providing new economic opportunities and possibilities for regional development. In the midst of the economic “boom” of the North, it is relevant to ask, what actually the economy of the North is. The paper examines understandings of economy and development of the North in the context of Arctic politics.

The specific focus of the text is on gendered dimensions of economy and development. I asks, where is gender and/or how is it perceived in the accounts of Northern economy and development. The presentation reflects and illustrates the often concealed gendered assumptions of economy.

As the analysis reveals, the understandings of economy of the North vary in terms of scale (global-local), place (multinational corporation-community), value (money-culture) and necessity (subsistence economy- energy consumption). There are three different kinds of ‘economies’ operating in the north: global economy of resources, local economy of traditions and future economy of opportunities. What these ‘economies’ share is the silence on questions of gender.


Satu Ranta-Tyrkkö: Genders and Ethnicities in and around Mining Industry?

In my presentation I would like discuss how to deal with issues of gender and ethnicity in the case of mining industry and its social and ecological implications. My interest in the topic is part of my wider interest to study mining industry in Finland and in the state of Odisha in Eastern India from an eco-social perspective.

While my study is still in a preliminary stage, a mere literature review on the topic provides highly gendered and to some extent ethicized images of the industry as well its opponents. The proponents of the industry appear to be by and large male, often though not always white, and representing a pronouncedly technological and rational world view. Also the images attached to exploring minerals are highly masculine “frontier images” of lone men struggling their ways through the wilderness. While the opposite front may not be as easily condensed to a single image or two , ethnic minorities, including the aboriginal people, as well as women, children, the nature, and, at an image level, future generations, profile often as the ones not benefitting from the industry. However, the picture is far from black and white; there are, for example, specific networks for women in the mining industry.


Tuija Saarinen: Moving west. Stories and storytelling of crossing the border

Before the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991 only very carefully selected (politically trusted) tourists were able to travel west from the Soviet Union. Going west, either living or just travelling there was, however, something many Soviets dreamt about. Ways to get out of the strictly guided country were planned. One, very popular indeed, was to marry a foreigner and get an official permission to leave the Soviet Union. Others were defecting – which was risky and difficult.

The Soviet Power did not publish news of migration or defection – if the defector was not well known person. In that case the person’s reputation and achievements (for example in science or arts) were painted in black. Finnish newspapers followed the YYA treatment’s policy and did not publish news of personal level happenings in the Soviet Union, either. The yellow press, however, was very curious and published scandalous news concerning the Soviet Union and Soviet citizens.

My research material contains Finnish yellow magazines (such as Hymy, Alibi and Ratto) articles from 1970’s and 1980’s. According to the source, the Soviets who crossed the border between Finland and the Soviet Union, were adventurers who were searching better standard of living – not big love or political freedom, for example. Culturally the stories the magazines published functioned as warnings to never to trust an Eastern. This kind of literature flourished and had an audience of more than every second Finn – for example the circulation of Hymy was 500 000 in the mid 1970’s and it has been estimated that 2,5 million citizen read it.

Nowadays Russians (or post-Soviets) are not the only immigrant group in Finland, but since the beginning of 1990’s we have received many more immigrants coming from outside Europe. The focus in yellow press has turned to them. The attitude towards Russian has neutralized – at least a bit. In my paper I will analyse this change. Do we always need stories of a bad enemy? Is there a cultural need for us as Finns to make the others knave?


Hanna-Leena Nissilä: Transnationalizing Finnish literature – definitions in the reception of Ranya El Ramly's Auringon asema ja Alexandra Salmela's 27 eli kuolema tekee taiteilijan

In my paper I focus on the transnational space of literature emerged in Finland. The 21st century has witnessed the emergence of transnational and cross-border writers with immigrant backgrounds also in Finland. I consider the transnational literary space and culture as a meeting place of flows (Arjun Appadurai 1996). The transnational turn in literature and literary studies has challenged the national paradigm which regards national literature as monolingual and monocultural. This also has challenged the definitions of literature.

I analyze the transnationalization of literary and definitions of “immigrant literature” via the reception of two novels. Both novels were intensely debated when they came out. First, the discussion about “Finnish multicultural literature” revived when Ranya El Ramly's Runeberg Prize-winning Auringon asema (2002) came out. Due to its subject, but also due to the Egyptian-Finnish background of El Ramly, the work was read and regarded as “multicultural”, even “immigrant literature”, although the writer herself resisted the defining and the corresponding foreignization she experienced. Some years later the Slovakia-born Alexandra Salmela debut novel 27 eli kuolema tekee taiteilijan (2010) provoked the second discussion as the novel was nominated for the Finlandia Prize, which according to the rules could only be awarded to a Finnish citizen. The rules were later changed so that writers who are not Finnish citizens can also be nominated for the prize. On the one hand, I analyze how Finnish literature has been defined and redefined. On the other hand, I analyze the characteristics of these definitions/redefinitions – that is, how and on what basis these definitions/redefinitions have been carried out by the literary institution. I'm also interested in the role of gender in these literary debates and definitions.


Sat 17th Nov 9:30-11:30

Julia Honkasalo: Exile without exit: Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon

Palestinian refugees form more than 10% of the total population in Lebanon. Nearly all are descendants of Palestinians, who fled or were expelled from Israel in 1948, and have since then lived in the twelve refugee camps around Lebanon. Although they are called “refugee camps”, these sites are actually cramped suburbs with poor infrastructure, lack of fresh water as well as proper electricity and health care. Because the Palestinians are not Lebanese citizens, but are registered by the UN as “refugees”, the Lebanese government actively denies them access to political rights, civil rights, employment and social services. Women form a particularly vulnerable subgroup, since they are dependent on men for their legal recognition as refugees. Since the Israeli state denies these refugees the right to return, Palestinians in Lebanon form a population trapped in permanent exile. This paper examines the refugee camp as a postcolonial space. Drawing from the work of Edward Said, Hannah Arendt and Judith Butler, as well as from my own work experience as an education coordinator at the Bourj-al-Barejne camp, I ask how is national identity and gender constituted in this unique situation of exile?  


Anitta Kynsilehto: Hubs of transit migration as gendered sites

European policies attempting to regulate international mobility, internally alongside their external impact, push people around Europe and its neighborhood in search for a safe haven. This phenomenon is called transit migration and its routes run along different hubs. Drawing on ethnographic observation and encounters in two sites, Algiers, Algeria, and Calais, France, this paper discusses these hubs of transit migration as gendered sites. Situated at different ends of colonial space of what used to be France-Algeria, the selected sites form distinctively transnational spaces in what is understood as postcolonial migratory space. The paper argues that the sites are gendered, albeit in different ways.


Angelica Pesarin: The construction of Italian identity. From colonial racial segregation to postcolonial citizenship rights

Italy has gone today from a country of emigration to a host nation, however, it is still perceived separated from its colonial history. The term ‘postcolonial’ seems to be particularly problematic given a lack of debate around the colonial past and the crimes perpetrated in East Africa. Furthermore this lack of discussion had important consequences on the construction of post-war Italian identity which still seems to be based upon biological criteria, excluding those who do not visually fit the ‘Italian’ type, such as ‘mixed race’ and non-white individuals.

Given the strict interdependence between the colonial past, the ‘mixed race’ category and the construction of ‘Italian’ identity, the aim of this paper is double sided. On the one hand it seeks to analyse how the idea of ‘Italianness’ was conceived and manipulated by the Fascist regime, through the marker of ‘race’, and what implications this had for the first generation of ‘mixed race’ individuals. On the other, it will illustrates the consequences of fascist racial ideologies faced today, in a so called ‘postcolonial’ Italy, by non-white Italians and how ‘race’ and biology are still crucial factors deeply rooted within the idea of ‘identity’.

Furthermore the project aims to listen to the young generation of Italian ‘mixed race’ still excluded by the national imagination and categorised as the ‘other’. Listening to their narratives could be a useful tool to understand how the new postcolonial generation deals with the complex negotiation of multiple identities originated by the encounter between ‘colonisers’ and ‘colonised’ .


Tiina Vaittinen: Postcolonial trajectories: Notes from an aging welfare state

This paper is based on ethnographic research tracing the global trajectories of care that depart from the Finnish welfare state as it grows old. Because of weakening dependency ratios and aging population, Finland risks running out of labour, and this is the case in the healthcare sector in particular. One solution is seen in so called “work-related migration”, and initiatives relating to nurse immigration are being taken by the private and public sectors alike. After a brief review of the situation of internationally educated nurses (IENs) in the Finnish labour market, the paper starts to trace the postcolonial dimensions of these current developments. Through notes from ethnographic field work with Filipino nurses in Finland, the presentation examines the ways in which multiple layers of colonial history are re-lived in the present-day Finland. With empirical examples it is shown how postcolonial relations intertwine in situations of everyday life – and how these relations are not only about the histories that the migrant worker reiterates when moving from the ‘South’ to the ‘North’ (e.g. a Filipino nurse carrying a history of US colonisation). The paper draws attention to the ways in which also ‘local’ histories and perceptions of past subjugation are brought alive in the present-day encounters; how this takes place vis-à-vis the colonial pasts of the Other; and how multiple trajectories of colonial Otherness are being hierarchically ordered in relation to the aging welfare state. The empirical examples move from the Filipino state policy of labour migration to a classroom space where Filipino nurses are trained to become Finnish practical nurses, to the language/culture policy of a Swedish speaking nursing ward, to the re-colonising tendencies of international nurse recruitment.

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Queer – between politics and literature

Chairs: Jacek Kornak (jacek.kornak(a) and Heta Rundgren (heta.rundgren(a)

Room: Linna 5014

Friday 16th Nov 15:00-17:00 (NB closing time), chair: Jacek Kornak

15:00-15:30 Lara Cox: Queer Theory’s “Return” to France: Marie-Hélène Bourcier’s Critique of French Universalism
15:30-16:00 Lily Robert-Foley:Keeping it queer: queer as translation, translation as queer
16:00-16:30 Heta Rundgren: Queer bodies of writing – in between Jacques Lacan and Judith Butler
16:30-17:00 Tuija Pulkkinen: Reconsidering Lee Edelman: Queer Futurity and Politics to Come

Saturday 17th Nov 9:30–11:30, chair: Heta Rundgren

9:30-10:00: Jane Cope: Queer Bodies, Queer Poetries: Toward a Materialist Reading of the Work of Akilah Oliver
10:00-10:30: Jacek Kornak: Semiotics and sex tourism – queering Roland Barthes
10:30-11:00: Mathias Verger: Queer, he said. The name of AIDS or, Hervé Guibert’s politics of writing
11:00-11:30:: Sanna Karhu: Queering Norms – Judith Butler’s Philosophical Project


Friday 16th Nov 15:00-17:00

Lara Cox: Queer Theory’s “Return” to France: Marie-Hélène Bourcier’s Critique of French Universalism

As noted by critics such as Downing (2012), queer theory is an internationally hybrid body of thought influenced by French theory but born out of the energies of American history and culture. Cusset (2002) argues that Anglo-American queer theory suffered at the hands of a misappropriation of French thought. Arguing against this and turning to the work of Marie-Hélène Bourcier, this paper posits that queer theory’s “return” to France – that is, its return as a culturally hybrid phenomenon – has enabled an urgently needed queer mode of critique of the universalist French Republican subject that would not have been possible without cultural transfer, refraction, and exchange. Bourcier equips us with a meaningful critique of the most ubiquitous and universalizing form of French feminism: “difference feminism” (as espoused by Kristeva, Irigaray, and Cixous, and championed by feminist groups such as Ni Putes ni Soumises). Not stopping here, however, she lambasts Judith Butler, the “queen” of queer theory in France, for ironically promoting a normative version of subjectivity.


Lily Robert-Foley: Keeping it queer:  queer as translation, translation as queer

My presentation will explore the relationship between translation and queerness and the distinct yet inseparable relationship between to translate and to queer. Translation studies and queer studies have a long and fruitful thematic connection in work devoted to margins, to the spaces of secondariness and otherness in politics and literature as elsewhere. My presentation will discuss this connection while proposing that the connection runs deeper still—to the malleability of its language. Both practices, to translate, and to queer include what may be called a performative or even deformative element. They set or keep language in motion, resisting reification, proposing infinitely mutating redefinitions of themselves.  This mobile quality of the trope of translation or queerness quickly confronts paradox in the fixing of its terms in critical discourse. This paradox forms the lynch pin of my moving from talking about translation and queerness to enacting a discursive practice of translating or queering. My presentation intends to embody a poetic position towards queerness and translation that will preserve their mobility, the untranslatability of their perpetual mise en abyme.


Heta Rundgren: Queer bodies of writing – in between Jacques Lacan and Judith Butler

Most queer theorists would no doubt associate the two concepts of feminine and queer to different, if not opposing traditions in contemporary feminist thought. The emphasis on queer and gay and lesbian rights no doubt sometimes replaces a stress put on feminine and women’s rights. In my paper I will, however, point out some important affinities between feminine and queer in Jacques Lacan’s and Judith Butler’s work. I will do this by paying attention to the fact that both feminine and queer are concepts that are often related to a certain politics of writing, namely a writing that resists stable meanings and “common sense” and mixes different literary genres. By analyzing some of Jacques Lacan’s and Judith Butler’s texts, I will explore their approaches to feminine/queer sexuality, body and writing. For example, they both seem to urge their readers to broaden the scope of what is known about feminine/queer sexuality by relating their experience or knowledge on the subject. On the other hand they remind that knowledge is no guarantee of any kind of “truth” in the matter since it is in writing that bodies are formed.


Tuija Pulkkinen: Reconsidering Lee Edelman: Queer Futurity and Politics to Come

Lee Edelman’s No Future, Queer Theory and Death Drive (2004) stirred a powerful polemical moment within queer studies some years ago. How should Edelman’s thesis of politics be evaluated today? In this paper I elaborate on and consider the implications of the unique type of conjunction of Lacanian theory, cultural imagery, and queer politics that Edelman puts forward in No Future. I argue that while Edelman’s polemics is about politics, and always strongly against politics, his style consists of a political rhetoric that involves politics of its own. Through looking at the way in which “queer” and “queerness” function as political concepts in Edelman’s text, I argue that his theorizing not only involves a particular kind of political messianism, but that in itself it also stabilizes a set of contingent assumptions ultimately in anti-political fashion, connected to his politics of theory. Does Edelman really provide a fresh view with his Lacanian elaboration, or does he rather recirculate some clichés, both literary and political?


Saturday 17th Nov 9:30–11:30

Jane Cope: Queer Bodies, Queer Poetries: Toward a Materialist Reading of the Work of Akilah Oliver

As the term "queer" continues to be employed both in the world of academia and in activist circles, queer people often find themselves at an impasse wherein theoretical, academic usages of the term (where it is often a shorthand for "liminal" or "ambiguous") fall short of capturing the realities of their lived experiences. In my paper, I will explore certain gaps between contemporary theoretical and political trends by proposing a more materialist approach to queer theory and the term “queer,” drawing on Monique Wittig's notion that language is a plastic material that shapes the real. To illustrate this approach, I would like to present the work of the late American poet Akilah Oliver. Oliver makes use of vernacular and theoretical language in order to confront the reader with a kind of queer subjectivity that constructs itself in and around conflicting discourses. Because she grapples with the tricky subject of poetic representation and embodiment, particularly as it concerns collective memory of trauma, her work is a prime example of a queer writing that, while supple and fluid, remains rooted in the realities of what it is to live through (and beyond) oppression.


Jacek Kornak: Semiotics and sex tourism – queering Roland Barthes

In my paper I analyse a fragment from Barthes' Incidents. I will focus my analysis of this book on the relationship between different levels and functions within narration. What strikes readers of Incidents is the style, which blurs distinctions between fiction and diary, fiction and criticism or theory, and between personal and public. Particularly interesting is Bathes’ book is description of his sexual encounters in Morocco.

The relationship of the narrator to Moroccans is marked by post-colonial perspective. Arabs are highly sexualized in Barthes’ text, but interestingly it is not a typical racial attitude that comes out in Incidents.  Through a strange relationship between different instances of the text, Barthes reverses traditional Western sentimental narration and opens it up for new possibilities of describing intimacy. In my inquiry into this text crucial is a deconstruction of the source of meaning that was traditionally connected to the function of the author. I analyse how Barthes decentres the function of the author. The figure of the author as a passive recipient of meaning is very disturbing for the reason that at this point the confused reader does not know with whom to identify.

Incidents is an inquiry into racism and homophobia but it does it not directly but via textual strategies of deconstructing the traditional functions of narration. I claim that via this strategy we can approach the text as radically open for reinterpretations. I claim that we can look at Incidents as an incitement to develop new narrations and more broadly new ways of thinking about sexuality and racial issues.


Mathias Verger: Queer, he said. The name of AIDS or, Hervé Guibert’s politics of writing

I’d like to formulate a way of queer-reading, or reading queer that would match a certain kind of excess-writing. In A l’ami qui ne m’a pas sauvé la vie Hervé Guibert anticipates his own grief through writing. The author relates what writing/living/dying with AIDS is like in the context of a queer autobiographical structure whose stylistic excess transforms and affects the French language, the canonical mould of the sentence and the order of letters. Guibert: under death sentence. The death of his language is a kind of queer writing linked to the struggle of minority life forms. A close reading of Guibert’s prose and his play on the word “AIDS” will emphasize how both writing and reading are a queer performance whose radical ambiguity allows us to think “elective affinities” between queer theory and the politics of writing, of translation, and of writing in translation. The lability of the word AIDS, through anagrams of acronyms (Sida, HIV/VIH) and through its poetic potentialities, exemplifies how queer writing and translation may forge an act of reading beyond all binary dichotomies. In other wor(l)ds : how can one articulate polysemy and homophony in literary criticism with radical politics?


Sanna Karhu: Queering Norms – Judith Butler’s Philosophical Project

Judith Butler’s account of performativity in Gender Trouble (1990) is commonly understood as a founding contribution to queer theory (e.g. Jagger 2008, Žižek 2000). However, Butler does not use the concept of “queer” as her theoretical tool for analyzing sex, gender and sexuality. While the term “queer” does figure to some extent for example in her book Bodies That Matter (1993), Butler uses it almost exclusively as an example of performative resignification. Although the critical potential of “queer” for Butler is related to the possibility of affirmative mobilization of the concept within anti-racist queer politics and activism, she does not build her own thought on that concept. Instead, I suggest, Butler’s contribution to queer theory is based on the problematic of norms. My argument in this paper is twofold. Firstly, by explicating Butler’s conception of norms I show how she extends her philosophical focus from the specific case of “violence of gender norms” to the more general question of the normative production of the “human”. Secondly, by shedding light to this shift of emphasis, I argue that Butler’s queer-theoretical project is not only tied to the subversive politics of performativity – but to the idea of “nonviolence” as well.

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Family, law, power and parenting experts

NB: Only one presentation in English.

Chairs: Johanna Hiitola (
Annukka Lahti (
annukka.lahti(a) and 
Anna Moring (

Room: Linna 6013 (NB: new room!)

Friday 16th Nov 15:00-17:30.

15:00-15:30: Pia Eriksson: A user perspective on pre-adoption services in the creation of families through international adoption

15:30-16:00: Anna Nikupeteri: Naisiin ja lapsiin kohdistuva eron jälkeinen vaino – kokemuksia auttamis- ja oikeusjärjestelmästä
16:00-16:30:  Sanna Koulu: Lapsesta sopiminen ja perheen sääntely
16:30-17:00: Anna Moring: Outouden asiantuntijat – ”neutraali” asiantuntija sateenkaariperhepuheessa
17:00-17:30: Mervi Patosalmi: Raiskaus avioliitossa, aviolliset velvollisuudet ja seksuaalisen itsemääräämisoikeuden määrittelyjä


Pia Eriksson
: A user perspective on pre-adoption services in the creation of families through international adoption

The path to becoming an adoptive family through international adoption is a process strictly regulated by legislation and international treaties. On the surface it seems only to be a bureaucratic legal process, while at the same time being a very personal and emotional psychological process holding many tensions.

Since the new family through adoption is created with the assistance of the government, the state has, justified by the right of the child, taken the right to assess parental potential in those creating a family. My focus, social work in pre-adoption counseling, is hence done in the cutting point between private and public. In addition to the intrusion of public power into a personal sphere of the family, the often middle-class prospective adoptive parents become users of social services and are subjected to the controlling element of social work. 

My paper presents a part of my thesis, i.e. my ongoing analysis of narrative interviews with women who have started an international adoption process. Of these women, six had adopted a child from abroad 2-4 years earlier. The other five had a terminated process behind. My focus is on perceptions of the practices, the professionals and the institutional context of pre-adoption counseling, as well the positioning and power dimensions associated with these.

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Trans* perspectives

NB: Only one presentation in English.

Chairs: Emmi Vähäpassi (etevah(a) and Andrea Hynynen (anhynyne(a)

Room: Linna 6019

Friday 16th Nov 15:00-17:30

15:00-15:30 Andrea Hynynen: Representations of Trans* in French Crime Fiction
15:30-16:00 Sami Suhonen: Psykiatriset transtutkimukset normaaliuden ja sukupuolen rakentajina
16:00-16:10 tauko
16:10-16:40 Luca Tainio: Transgender normien haastajana?
16:40-17:10 Emmi Vähäpassi: Ruumiit koteina ja trans-vastajulkisuudet
17:10-17:30 Aikaa yleiselle keskustelulle

Andrea Hynynen: Representations of Trans* in French Crime Fiction

My presentation will discuss the representation of transsexual and transgender in French crime fiction. Transsexual and transgender characters are becoming more and more present in popular culture, although to a lesser extent in France compared with Anglo-Saxon popular culture. However, the representation of trans in mainstream popular culture is usually simplistic, often characterized by exoticism and voyeurism. In crime fiction, trans has mostly been associated with criminality and sexual deviance through the use of transsexual serial killers, whose actions are motivated by sexual perversion and a troubled gender identity. Through the examples of Brigitte Aubert’s Transfixions and Thierry Jonquet’s Mygale, I will study different possibilities of exploring trans issues in mainstream crime fiction, paying particular attention to how the structural and thematic aspects of the individual narrative as well as generic conventions restrict and/or support the place and image of trans.

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Muutettu: 14.11.2012 18.33 Muokkaa

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