In light of the fact that the 108th annual conference of the American Sociological Association kicks off in New York at the end of this week, Signs is making freely available, for a limited period, two articles of interest to ASA members, or to anyone with an interest in feminist sociology. These two articles demonstrate the complexity of the theoretical and methodological innovations of feminist sociological research on inequality published in Signs.
Ashley Currier’s article “The Aftermath of Decolonization: Gender and Sexual Dissidence in Postindependence Namibia,” published in the Winter 2012 issue of Signs, has been awarded the 2013 Sex and Gender Distinguished Article Award from the Sex and Gender section of the American Sociological Association. As the award committee stated, Currier’s article provides “a very insightful analysis of a pressing social issue in sub-Saharan Africa…. Currier’s analysis of alliances between LGBTQ and feminist activists [has] important implications for similar struggles across the African continent and indeed within the U.S.”
Currier’s article explores the sociological effects of “political homophobia”—the tactics of political leaders who use homophobic threats not only to keep nonconforming sexualities in line but also to construct homosexuality as a colonial imposition altogether foreign to the postcolonial nation. Currier details how a strategic alliance between feminist and LGBTQ activists emerged to combat the political homophobia of the leaders of the South West African People’s Organization (SWAPO), the liberation movement that had become Namibia’s ruling party.
The award will be presented at Sex and Gender section’s meeting at the American Sociological Association on August 12. Currier will also participate in the “Collective Behavior and Social Movements” session on August 10.
Complementing the conference theme of “Interrogating Inequality: Linking Micro and Macro,” Leslie McCall’s “The Complexity of Intersectionality,” published in the Spring 2005 issue of Signs, explores the impact of intersectionality, a major paradigm of research in women’s studies and elsewhere, on social research methodologies. McCall delineates a wide range of methodological approaches to the study of multiple, intersecting, and complex social relations, and she critically engages with their origins, implications, achievements, and limitations. McCall identifies three approaches to intersectionality—anticategorical, intercategorical, and intracategorical—that she discusses in relation to how they understand and use analytical categories to explore the complexity of intersectionality and inequality in social life. McCall makes an argument for overcoming the disciplinary boundaries based on the use of different methods in order to embrace multiple approaches to the study of intersectionality.
McCall will be present at 2013 ASA annual meeting as panelist at the “Changing Beliefs about Inequality, Opportunity and Mobility” plenary session and discussant at the “Culture and Inequality: Labor Market Processes” session on August 12. She is also session organizer for “Inequality, Poverty and Mobility: Causes and Consequences of Economic Inequality” on August 13 and a participant in the Economic Sociology section on August 11.
ASA members may also want to revisit a pioneering 1979 article by Paula England, the newly elected president of the ASA, “Women and Occupational Prestige: A Case of Vacuous Sex Equality.” Other highlights from the feminist sociology that Signs has been privileged to publish over the years, include Patricia Hill Collins’s “The Social Construction of Black Feminist Thought” (1989), Evelyn Nakano Glenn’s “From Servitude to Service Work: Historical Continuities in the Racial Division of Paid Reproductive Labor” (1992), and Karen Esther Rosenberg and Judith A. Howard’s “Finding Feminist Sociology: A Review Essay” (2008).