“High status” of women has been one of the social characteristics used by scholars to define Southeast Asia as a field of study. Since the 1970s, feminist critiques of mainstream scholarship have challenged the idea that we can analyze the situation of women outside a broader framework and attend to the structuring of sex differences and gender inequality that encompasses masculinity as well as femininity. This chapter reviews the development of approaches to studying gender that have grown out of the renewal of feminism in the late 1960s, referencing some of the important ways Southeast Asian scholarship linked to this scholarship. In particular it tracks the move from studying the “position of women” to “gender relations,” which includes studies of femininity and masculinity. I argue that this body of scholarship presents an epistemological critique which impacts how we use the “tool kit” of research methods in the humanities and social sciences. Research strategies arising from current theorizing of gender relations can be deployed by researchers in Southeast Asian studies, and my own analysis of gender relations in Indonesia is used to exemplify this approach. Gender relations are imbricated in the exercise of power in all social arenas: I suggest a framework that allows us to understand the expression of gendered power in institutional structures of politics and economics, in symbolism and ideology, and in the formation of social attachments.
|Title of host publication||Methodology and Research Practice in Southeast Asian Studies|
|Editors||Mikko Huotari, Jurgen Ruland, Judith Schlehe|
|Place of Publication||Hampshire|
|Publisher||Palgrave Macmillan Ltd|
|Publication status||Published - 2014|