Discourse. “A system of possibility of knowledge”

Foucault’s method was to ask, it has been said,

what rules permit certain statements to be made; what rules order these statements; what rules permit us to identify some statements as true and others as false; what rules allow the construction of a map, model or classificatory system, what rules are revealed when an object of discourse is modified or transformed … Whenever sets of rules of these kinds can be identified, we are dealing with a discursive formation or discourse.

Source: J. B. Harley, Deconstructing the map Reprinted from Cartographica, v. 26, n. 2 (Spring 1989), 1-20.

Gender equality is going backwards. Can norm-criticality be of assistance?

Yesterday was the International Women’s day. And because of the %&/$ pandemic gender equality is going backwards globally. Violence against women is increasing, women are losing their jobs, women are becoming poorer, they die more often from pregnancy and childbirth, and fewer girls are attending school. (More sources: UN Women, ILO, UNESCO) When I see all the horrifying statistics I am completely distraught. And angry. This is ridiculous. We aren’t getting anywhere. If we are to create a climate just world we need an equal world. They go hand in hand. Our generation needs to fucking get it together. It’s not up to the younger generation. We need to do better. I practice feminism everyday. With my children, with my husband, with friends and colleagues. In my research. When people get comfortable and assume that we have already reached a good level of equality in Sweden that’s when we need to feminism even more. We need to acknowledge the inequality taking place right now; in our homes, at our workplaces, in healthcare, in urban planning, in the industry, in the academia. You name it. (Swedish news on backlash in Swedish gender equality: Sverige halkar efter inom jämställdhet: ”Vi lever på gamla meriter”, Svenska bolag halkar efter – snart sämst i Norden på jämställdhet, Bottenplacering fick oss att satsa på jämställdhet). I always felt quite dubious towards this day. One the one hand I think it’s important to acknowledge women and gender equality and on the other hand I think it’s absurd to dedicate one specific day for it. Yes, I know people’s attention span is short, it’s good to target and highlight equality in news media and public policy on certain occasions in time rather than spread it out over the year. I see a valid point communication wise. And of course from an activist point. To gather, get your voice heard, share your knowledge and be a part of a community who challenges status quo and is asking for a more equal society.

In my current research I am studying how norm-critical innovation can be an important means for triggering transformative change. Normative values and belief systems are embedded in the infrastructures we rely upon everyday. Agriculture, manufacturing, services. In Sweden main manufacturing activities are wood processing, paper, electronic equipment, industrial food processing and pharmaceutical products. Systems and activities I definitely don’t want to be without. Within these systems people reside, and in them you find the ideas and visions of how processing should be conducted and become successful. Ideas and visions that are then transformed into practices and products. Norm-critical approaches to wood processing can provide new knowledge on the norms surrounding wood processing and whether interventions are needed in order to develop for instance a more equal recruitment framework, a work environment that acknowledges different workers, or a product line that can reach new target groups. Norm-criticality is a normative, value-based framework built on the aim of reducing inequalities and increasing equality and equity. A norm-critical analysis doesn’t focus on gender per se but rather places all norms and values on the table in order to see which behaviours and practices uphold discrimination and bias. Gender can be one of these norms but not always. Most often there are several intersecting social markers, such as gender, class and ethnicity, that are affected by the structural discrimination. Norm-criticality is not without its faults but it shows promising results in how it can move from a theoretical stance of acknowledging one’s privileges and discriminatory behaviour towards an intervention that can change organizational structures on a mid-level. I just realized I want to relate norm-criticality with structural functionalism, conflict theory, and symbolic interactionism but that’s a task for another day.

Writer’s block

I wrote the text below five years ago. It’s fascinating trying to travel back in time and recognize the mindset I had back then.

Critical Play, Black Skin, White Masks, The Philosopher Kings. I am finally reading again. Not only did I have a terrible writer’s block for a long time, I couldn’t really read either. Well, I could read but I lacked the depth when I tried to encapsulate the words. They felt blank and without meaning, I understood less and less until I gave up. I read what I had to and nothing else. Now, I am slowly motioning back, ah why do I say back, I am moving towards a new relation with words, especially the English words, and I must say that I am enjoying it. It does feel nervous at times and my stuttering mind isn’t helping. Can I, Should I, I can’t, I don’t know, I don’t understand, There’s no point, Someone else can do it better, not me, why me, how, where do I begin, I feel nauseous.

I feel alone.

But it’s ok. Because when I think about it, reflect and suggest different timelines for myself I’m happy with this one. I do want to make changes eventually. Much needed changes for my happiness but the present is okay, it’s fine.

I can do this.

I struggle a lot with what I want to achieve in life. My expectations of myself and my recurring mind traps of only seeing the meaninglessness of it all. The pandemic hasn’t helped. I don’t really feel alone as I wrote above. Well not in the sense of being surrounded by my wonderful children and loving husband. Still in some ways I do feel alone. After my PhD I promised myself that I would find a great, big community where I could contribute and thrive in but I haven’t found it yet. And the current work-from-home situation hasn’t helped my search either. What I am happy about is this space I’m creating. It’s a great way for challenging my insistently linear ways of thinking. This space will give me room for creating alternative timelines. Timelines that doesn’t have to linear or closed-end systems. They don’t have to confine to any traditional time-space logic. I can roam free. I just have to let go. And create a pluriverse of my own.

Resurrection lands

Resurrection Lands is a new online game about the effects of Trans Tourism and how to protect those who are most at risk of being erased by history. Here speculative fiction is used to re-imagine those from the past that we have lost. The act of crafting Pro Black and Trans environments can help us visualise futures that seek to appreciate Black-Trans existence.”

Danielle Brathwaite-Shirley is the artist who has made this game. Their works predominantly in animation, sound, performance and Video Games to communicate the experiences of being a Black Trans person.

I don’t recall how I encountered this game but I’m glad I did. The game elements are text-based and filled with a lot of animation elements. The game has this kind of old school 90s game design look with a lot of patterns, intense neon colour and text flying around all over the place. It has a quite unique way of orienting around the concept of archiving. The game designer seeks to create a space where black trans people are not only made visible and heard but also enabled as part of an alternative future environment. Walking through the game I encounter animations and a distorted voice-over reading the large text placed in front of the animation. I kind of longed for personal stories from black trans people and was looking for more information on the discourse of black trans person but I didn’t find this within the game. The game is an eye opener, a place for thought-provoking interaction with the black trans community and a really amazing art piece. Keep an open mind.

You can find the game here: http://resurrectionland.com/

Where to begin?

I keep getting stuck on what I want to achieve with this blog and then I just end up writing nothing. I don’t know if I should write in English or Swedish, or both. I don’t know if I should write more in a more academic language and less in an every-day voice. I have no idea if I should try and write for a certain group or individual. But when all is said and done I always come back to the point of why do I want to write in the first place. Because I want to share my thoughts on all kinds of stuff, big and small. And it doesn’t matter if my audience is one person or a thousand. The joy of internet is that text will eventually find a home. And when I start thinking about building a home on the internet I smile.

Just like my physical home I want it to be a place where you are invited in for a conversation, where we can share ideas and thoughts and possibly make plans. What kind of plans you may ask? Well, we’ll just have to wait and see. But I do know that I want a home, a space, that is friendly and welcoming. And is open to constructive criticism and appreciation. Where we can have completely opposite opinions and still find a common ground where we are heard and where we listen to each other. Since I am the only one living in this home at the moment I will start by sharing my quirky and fantastical thoughts on things that cross my path and that I think will be fun and important to share with the world. When writing this I already feel that I have answered my questions of voice and style. I will figure that out along the way. The important thing for me now is to write.