International conference 2008

Ethnographies of Gender and Globalization

Globalization is the result of the increasingly rapid exchange of goods, capital, information, technologies, ideas and peoples, and the general compression of distances and time. The rise of the information technology, the liberalization of the global economy, the internationalization of labor markets, the increase of migration flows and the rise of supranational states are all transformations that can only be understood in the context of globalization. Globalization processes can have a large impact on people’s daily lives, even in the most remote parts of the world. All over the world, people and locations are increasingly being connected to each other. This interconnectedness can be seen as the core feature of globalization. In turn, people respond to new challenges and opportunities offered by globalization. Their daily actions produce, transform and determine the specific directions that globalization processes may take.

Feminist and gender anthropology is a discipline par excellence that can make understandable how globalization and daily life are interrelated. A growing body of feminist literature has shown that globalization is not a gender neutral phenomenon. It has different outcomes for women and men. It challenges them in different ways and offers them different opportunities. Gender constructions shape globalization processes which in turn confirm, construct and change gender notions. These developments may result in profound changes in family life, family composition, gender relations, and the way men, women and children interact with each other on a daily basis.

With this conference LOVA wished to bring together an international group of anthropologists, social scientists and other experts who study the interweaving of gender and globalization from an anthropological perspective. How do women and men experience globalization processes in their daily lives and how do they give direction to them? What are the challenges that they face and what opportunities are open to them? How does globalization confirm and reconstruct existing gender and other social inequalities? Does it have a potential for the empowerment of women and men and their social mobility? How does globalization influence constructions of femininity and masculinity and how do these constructions in turn give direction to processes of globalization? And, last but not least, is globalization still a useful theoretical concept or have we entered a new, post-globalization era and are we in need of new conceptualizations?