On April 27-28 2017, the Gender and Enterprise Network, a Special Interest Group of the Institute for Small Business and Entrepreneurship organised and hosted a unique, inspiring and intellectually stimulating think-space for gender theory. Thirty international attendees gathered for two days to learn about and discuss the underpinning philosophies that we use to study gender, with a focus on critical realist philosophy.
Invited speakers included Dr Dave Elder-Vass (Loughborough University), Prof John Kitching (Kingston University), Dr Elina Meliou (Newcastle University London), Dr Helen Mussell (Cambridge University), Dr Michiel Van Ingen (London School of Economics), Prof Julia Rouse (Manchester Metropolitan University) and Dr Angela Martinez Dy (Loughborough University London); Dr Lena Gunnarsson from Lund University in Sweden provided a video presentation.
Topics included the core principles of critical realism, empiricism and social constructionism, agency and reflexivity, feminist standpoint theory and intersectionality, how to be both realist and constructionist about gender, and potential applications for these concepts in gender, entrepreneurship, management and organisation research.
Multiple roundtable sessions and dedicated networking time enabled deeper discussion and debate, creating an open and collaborative learning environment in which participants could query, challenge and examine the concepts presented in the speaker sessions. The content and format of the event aimed to make explicit our often implicit methodological positions as researchers, and in particular, to encourage debate about normative philosophical positions within feminist approaches.
The think-space was co-sponsored by Manchester Metropolitan University’s Sylvia Pankhurst Gender Research Centre and the British Academy of Management Gender in Management Special Interest Group, and hosted by the Glendonbrook Institute for Enterprise Development at Loughborough University London. Attendees were positive and enthusiastic, sharing comments like: ‘I learned so much and was able to test and consolidate my thinking in so many ways,’ and ‘Critical realism resonates with me as a framework and I’m keen to explore it more.’ The Gender and Enterprise Network is extremely pleased with such a successful outcome, thanks our hosts and sponsors and looks forward to similar events in the future.
Critical Realism, Gender and Feminism: Special Issue of the Journal of Critical Realism (15:5, 2016)
Email Enquiries to: lena.gunnarsson at oru.se
Submit online at: http://www.editorialmanager.com/rea/
An increasing number of gender scholars have become familiar with critical realism, finding it a robust alternative to the poststructuralist perspectives that currently dominate gender studies and feminism. This trend has coincided with an increased interest among feminist theorists in the issues of ontology, materiality and nature, which have always been at the heart of critical realist interventions. However, despite these thematic alignments, and despite the fact that both critical realism and feminist theory are inherently critical-emancipatory, the critical realist approach continues to occupy a marginal role within both feminist and gender studies debates. Concurrently, the field of critical realism is decidedly ‘masculine’ in nature, both in the sense that men dominate the field, and in terms of the issues with which critical realists have most commonly concerned themselves. Recent critical realist feminist work, the International Association of Critical Realism’s adoption of a proactive policy to enhance the representation of women in its organs and activities, and the growing critical realist preoccupation (particularly in Bhaskar’s philosophy of metaReality) with historically ‘feminine’ topics such as love, mark a potential shift away from these unfortunate trends.
In order to encourage the development of this emerging field of critical realist feminism and gender studies, as well as critical exchanges between the respective branches of critical realism (including dialectical critical realism and metaRealism) and feminist theory/gender studies, we are happy to invite submissions for a special issue of Journal of Critical Realism on Critical Realism, Gender and Feminism. We welcome not only contributions that draw on critical realism in studying gender relations and/or engaging with feminist concerns but also critiques of critical realism from feminist or gender-based points of view.
Topics of interest include, but are by no means limited to, the following:
- Critical realism and poststructuralist feminism/gender studies
- Critical realism and socialist/eco/radical/black/postcolonial feminism
- Critical realism and the ontological/materialist/naturalistic turn in feminist theory
- Critical realism and intersectionality
- Critical realism, metaRealism, love and gender
- Critiques/auto-critiques of existing critical realist work from a feminist/gender studies perspective
- Feminist epistemology, standpoint theory and critical realism
- Critical realism and feminist critiques of (social) science
- Examinations/critiques of feminist taboos on realism, nature and causality
- Critical realism and post-feminist culture
- Critical realism, dialectics and feminist deconstruction
- Revitalizing the explanatory feminist tradition: what is patriarchy?
- Critical realism and sexuality
- Critical realism and queer studies
- Critical realism and men/masculinity studies
- Critical realism, sex and gender identity
- Critical realism and gendered/sexual violence
- Critical realism, feminism, gender studies and war/conflict
- Critical realism and feminist ethics
- Critical realism and pornography
- Critical realism and feminist methods/methodology
- Agency, gender and critical realism
- Critical realism and feminist activism/politics
- Feminism, gender studies, critical realism and other realisms (Barad’s agential realism, post-positivist realism etc.)
- Critical realism as underlabourer for applied work in feminism/gender studies
- Critical realism, interdisciplinarity, gender and feminism
- Feminist spirituality and metaRealism
- Critical realism and feminist economics
Instructions for authors
Papers should be no more than 8,000 words (not inclusive of references). In all other respects, our instructions for authors apply. Please consult these at www.maneyonline.com/ifa/rea or use one of our recently published articles as a guide in setting out your work. Articles (as distinct from pieces for our Perspective and Debate sections) will be subject to external peer review.
Submissions need not be exclusively concerned with critical realism or its critique, but should relate their arguments in some significant way to critical realism. For instance, the main focus of an article could be Karen Barad’s feminist appropriation of Bohr’s agential realism, but it should include consideration of critical realism.
- October 1, 2015: deadline for first drafts
- February 26, 2016: reviewers’ reports and editors’ decision provided
- May 23, 2016: deadline for final drafts
- June 30, 2016: final copy due with the publisher
- October 2016: publication of the special issue online and print
Enquiries and submissions
Please send any enquiries to lena.gunnarsson at oru.se Please upload articles for peer review to our online system, http://www.editorialmanager.com/rea/default.asp. When uploading you will be asked if your paper is for a themed issue. Please answer ‘Yes, the special issue on Critical Realism, Gender and Feminism’. If your paper is accepted but not included in the special issue, it will appear in a subsequent issue. Please send any other material for the special issue to lena.gunnarsson at oru.se.
About the Journal
Journal of Critical Realism is the journal of the International Association for Critical Realism (IACR), established in 1997 to foster the discussion, propagation and development of critical realist approaches to understanding and changing the world. It provides a forum for scholars wishing to promote realist emancipatory philosophy, social theory and science on an interdisciplinary and international basis, and for those who wish to engage with such an approach.