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Gender, embodiments

Grant number: 03/13691-0
Support Opportunities:Research Projects - Thematic Grants
Duration: June 01, 2004 - May 31, 2009
Field of knowledge:Humanities - Anthropology
Principal Investigator:Mariza Corrêa
Grantee:Mariza Corrêa
Host Institution: Núcleo de Estudos de Gênero (PAGU). Universidade Estadual de Campinas (UNICAMP). Campinas , SP, Brazil
Pesquisadores principais:
Maria Filomena Gregori
Associated grant(s):07/59646-6 - Monica Raisa Schpun | Ehess - France, AV.EXT


The aim of this project is to analyze, from the perspective of gender studies, how supposedly male and female characterizes permeate/pervade conventions and norms of the body and how they also permeate/pervade knowledge and practices that inform it. Our intent is to look closely at body techniques and transformations, with special emphasis in the materialization of these conventions in social relationships, particularly in the instances of sexual orientation and practice; age and life-course; medical interventions on the body and social imprints in cultural and scientific arenas. One of the questions to ask is what the shared view in our societies is when one speaks about bodies and their particular configurations, embodiments, in the light of a disseminated view of the body as an eminently plastic material, that can elude or postpone the restrictions of its materiality, finitude and frailty. And, in the other hand, that can be adapted or amalgamated to any convention culturally established. Another question is how accepted conventions on embodiment do impinge in social and cultural practices, signified in the production of bodies, and its implications for social identities. These more general questions will be approached through three main axis of investigation: 1) body practices, sexuality and eroticism: how do social conventions on the relationships of old age and sexuality, of race/color, nationality and sexuality, and on sexuality and eroticism, materialize themselves in the production of bodies and styles of sociability? To answer this, we need to chart the conventions of eroticism and pornography in the national and transnational markets of sexual commodification, selecting groups and/or personal relationships according to their specific erotic aims, that is, relationships between a-go-go Brazilian girls and their foreign partners (and vice-versa), and relationships among people who choose S/M sexual relations. It will also be important to pay attention to the articulation of age, life course and sexual orientation, be it among 'third age' groups of women, be it in the life history and sociability of ageing homosexuals; 2) sex, gender and body plasticity: the focus here will be on medical conventions that define practices of bodily intervention on intersex children, the ones that call into question the absolute polarity between the sexes or the dimorphic conventions of sexuality, which is paradigmatic in our society. It will be important, also, to pay attention to the technological interventions aiming at the production of "new” bodies (plastic surgeries, new reproductive technologies), as well as to consumerism interventions aiming to conquest the adhesion of third age groups (new bodily languages, diets and body performances); 3) body, names and distinction marks: how the name, body and gender are articulated to authorship and authority (cultural, intellectual and scientific authority) in multiple fields of symbolic production, particularly in the field of artistic and scientific production. Attention will be given, also, to the relationship of construed bodies and construed names as a gender attributed mark, as in the case of children who had their sexual identity re-assigned by medical intervention. All three axis will be focused through a qualitative methodological approach - that is, through ethnographic research, interviews and analysis of iconographic and written records. Central to each one of these axis is the comparative and historical dimension of analysis. Although Brazilian social practices and Brazilians views are privileged, the interest here is to explore specific forms by which transnational trends are locally adapted, and articulated, in the Brazilian and in certain other foreign contexts. National diversity, namely the way by which embodiment is put on act in diverse and distinct urban scenarios, will be an important ingredient of analysis. (AU)

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