Saturday, August 9, 2008

Gendered spaces (quote from Jorunn Økland)

I am always interested when I come across the work of Jorunn Økland, a fellow Norwegian who now teaches at the University of Sheffield (England), and who writes on the intersection between gender and space. This week I read a chapter by her on space, gender and religion:
"one way of making spaces meaningful is to associate them with a particular gender ... 
For Massey, '"place" is formed out of the particular set of social relations which interact at a particular location' (Massey 1994:168). Add to the set of social relationships a kind of discourse that more or less explicitly constructs and structures the activities taking place there as male or female, and you have gendered spaces ...  
Character, action and place are intimately linked to each other and stand in a legitimizing, reinforcing, dialectic relationship with each other: type 1 performs action 1 on place 1; since type 1 performs action 1, type 1 becomes type 1. If one is located on place 2, one performs action 2 and is type 2, etc. In my own work, this insight has been particularly helpful to illuminate how the distribution of ritual patterns of actions (roles) between men and women serves to gender sacred places" (Økland 2005:152-153)
-- Økland, Jorunn. 2005. "Men are from Mars and women are from Venus": On the relationship between religion, gender and space. In Gender, religion and diversity: Cross-cultural perspectives (eds) Ursula King and Tina Beattie, 152-161. London and New York: Continuum.

-- Massey, Doreen. 1994. Space, place and gender. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

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