Stumbling over Emotions When Researching the Czech Feminist Scene

Thursday, July 17, 2014: 9:00 AM
Room: 411
Oral Presentation
Blanka NYKLOVA , Faculty of Social Science, Charles University in Prague, Czech Republic
Since the fall of state socialism in what is today’s Czech Republic (CR), a feminist scene has emerged. It consists of sometimes contradictory activities on the level of (limited) grassroots activism in the form of zines and festivals, NGOs (such the Gender Studies, o.p.s ., Czech Women’s Lobby, Czech Women’s Union) and academia (a BA programme in Brno, an MA programme in Prague and a research centre within the Sociological Institute of the Academy of Sciences of the CR). The theoretical stances of those constituting the scene via their various, sometimes contradictory and conflicting activities has become the focus of my research. It consisted of a discourse analysis of materials produced by the scene as well as of interviews with the scene’s representatives.

Despite having been driven to the research mostly based on my own long-term interest in feminism and familiarity with the omnipresence of emotions in all walks of (not only) social research (e.g., Hesse-Biber 2012), the share of emotions manifested in the research was surprising. In my paper, I try to address the different emotions as they emerged in the research process in order to show how they impacted on the analysis. Besides the emotions informing the focus of the research and its design, three main sites were detected. Firstly, there were emotions showing up in the process of conducting the interviews. Secondly, there were emotions revealed in the coding process. Thirdly, there were my own emotions in response to the former two areas. Positive emotions are related to successful cooperation and achievement. Frustration and vanity stem from tensions and perceived unequal distribution of power and agency across the feminist scene as well as from the resulting limited potential to protest.