The “Political” Meaning of “Gender” and Relations in Post-doi Moi Vietnam
Post-colonial feminist theories effectively destabilize 'gender' as a central analytical category and explore multidimentional subjectivities, emphasizing how gender is constituted through other kinds of social differences and axes of power. However, the theory of “intersectionality, that is now gaining momentum in Southeast Asian discourse on women and gender, seems useless when taken out of a specific juridical discourse. Furthermore, 'Gender' has lost its critical and politicized edge, having been instituzionalized into a series of tools and techniquess that are far removed from the transformatory potential of gender as a feminist concept (Kabeer, 2005; Molyneux and Razavi, 2005; Leach, 2007).
Following those premises, Alessandra Chiricosta’s research is trying to re-articulate and to “re-politicisize” the concept of “gender” in the context of new social and economic transformations in Vietnam. Basing on the “relational” model of the Vietnamese construction of personal and social identity and Lonzi's theories on women's politic of relations, “Gender” is here seen as “relational”. “Gender” is constituted in different contexts as a component of multiple and complex subjectivities, involving the interaction of men and women, structured through norms and institutions, reconfigured through individual agency and symbolized both at a personal and collective level.