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Women on the road : Regendering Narratives of Mobility

Enevold, Jessica LU (2003) In Docotral Theses from University of Gothenburg
Abstract (Swedish)
Popular Abstract in Swedish

Traditionellt sett är resande en maskulin aktivitet. I det här sammanhanget betyder det att resan för en euro-amerikansk man ses som en identitetsskapande process som formar honom som subjekt. Denna process förutsätter att kvinnan figurerar i marginalen, i det stereotypiska fallet som sexobjekt eller väntande hustru/moder. Genom att ersätta män med kvinnor i huvudrollerna undersöker Jessica Enevold i ett antal böcker och filmer vad som händer när kvinnor överger sin position i marginalen och beger sig ut på vägarna själva.

Avhandlingsförfattaren undersöker hur dessa böcker och filmer, främst nordamerikanska från sent nittonhundratal (t.ex. Marilynne Robinsons Housekeeping 1980, Ridley... (More)
Popular Abstract in Swedish

Traditionellt sett är resande en maskulin aktivitet. I det här sammanhanget betyder det att resan för en euro-amerikansk man ses som en identitetsskapande process som formar honom som subjekt. Denna process förutsätter att kvinnan figurerar i marginalen, i det stereotypiska fallet som sexobjekt eller väntande hustru/moder. Genom att ersätta män med kvinnor i huvudrollerna undersöker Jessica Enevold i ett antal böcker och filmer vad som händer när kvinnor överger sin position i marginalen och beger sig ut på vägarna själva.

Avhandlingsförfattaren undersöker hur dessa böcker och filmer, främst nordamerikanska från sent nittonhundratal (t.ex. Marilynne Robinsons Housekeeping 1980, Ridley Scotts Thelma & Louise 1991 och Erika Lopez Flaming Iguanas 1997) söker skriva om traditionella berättelser om "the road" och om kvinnors och mäns mobilitet som Jack Kerouacs On the Road (1957) genom att ersätta män med kvinnor i huvudrollerna. Vad händer, frågar Enevold, när kvinnor överger sin position i marginalen och beger sig ut på vägarna själva? Hur skriver författare in kvinnor i traditionen som mobila subjekt istället för objekt?



Avhandlingen ligger i gränslandet mellan feministiska, litterära, sociologiska och kulturella studier. Enevold föreslår en rad begrepp och metaforer med vilka man skall kunna förstå resetraditionen och diskutera "women on the road" på ett nytt sätt, ur en feministisk synvinkel. Dessa begrepp tjänar till att könskoda rese- och rörlighetstraditionen och bidra med reviderade, genusmedvetna, bilder av mobila kvinnor i litteratur och film.



Berättelser i vilka kvinnan överlever som kvinnligt mobilt subjekt beskrivs i avhandlingen ske i två faser av omskrivning av det gamla "road-manuset": en approprierande och en metafiktiv. Anmärkningsvärd för dessa berättelser är betydelsen av roadmovien Thelma & Louise (1991). Road-manuset skrivs om med hjälp av strategierna re-scripting, som innebär en kullkastning av polariseringen manligt/kvinnligt, samt de-scripting, som innebär ett slutligt anammande av "vägmödrar" som Thelma och Louise istället för manliga förebilder som förkastas och att kvinnans tillträde till vägen tas för självklar. Dessa nya strategier som uppstår i och med kvinnans intåg som rörligt subjekt måste ses som delar av en ny road-estetik. Denna nya estetik kan inte ses som ny om man enbart ser road-berättelserna ur ett genreperspektiv. Genus måste vara det förhärskande analysperspektivet för att road-estetiken i kvinnors road-berättelser ska kunna uppfattas som förändrad.



Avhandlingen syntetiserar slutligen den könsomkodning som andragenerations-feministiska berättelser som Thelma and Louise har iscensatt med en tredjegenerations-feministisk sensibilitet som uppvisas i novellantologier som Jennie Goode's Drive (2000). Den här generationen kvinnliga resenärer visar en gång för alla att kvinnor inte längre är enbart modersfigurer som väntar där hemma, sexuella objekt i berättelsens utkant eller passagerare i bilens baksäte utan tekniskt kompetenta, mobiliserade, bemyndigade (empowered) och aktiva subjekt som styr sina egna öden.





Avhandlingens titel: Women on the Road: Regendering Narratives of Mobility. (Kvinnor på väg: Om könsomkodningen av berättelser om mobilitet)

Disputationen äger rum lördagen den 18 oktober 2003 kl. 13.15

Opponent: Professor Graham Huggan

Rum 2304 A, Campus Gräsvik, Blekinge tekniska högskola (Less)
Abstract
This thesis is founded on the premise that traditional discourses of travel and mobility are inherently masculinist, that is, travel is seen as a masculinity rite-of passage for the Euro-American male, shaping his subjectivity through the othering and marginalization of women. Taking Jack Kerouac’s On the Road (1957), the epitome of masculinist travel literature, as a starting point for an examination of women’s road narratives, it poses the questions: what happens when women abandon their marginal positions and take to the road? How do authors write women into moving subjects? To answer these questions I investigate a number of mainly North American late twentieth-century narratives of the road, for example, Robinson’s Housekeeping... (More)
This thesis is founded on the premise that traditional discourses of travel and mobility are inherently masculinist, that is, travel is seen as a masculinity rite-of passage for the Euro-American male, shaping his subjectivity through the othering and marginalization of women. Taking Jack Kerouac’s On the Road (1957), the epitome of masculinist travel literature, as a starting point for an examination of women’s road narratives, it poses the questions: what happens when women abandon their marginal positions and take to the road? How do authors write women into moving subjects? To answer these questions I investigate a number of mainly North American late twentieth-century narratives of the road, for example, Robinson’s Housekeeping (1980), Scott’s Thelma & Louise (1991), Morrison’s Paradise (1997), Lopez’ Flaming Iguanas (1997), and Tuttle’s The Bad Girl’s Guide to the Open Road (1999). I also refer to pre-twentieth-century texts. What the texts have in common is a concern with women’s mobility.

Methodologically this study posits itself at the crossroads of feminist, cultural, literary, and sociological inquiries. It is neither a pure literary-historical nor narratological investigation, its interest lies in exploring the topos of the road. The thesis consists of: an introduction, a chapter presenting my theoretical departures, two published and two forthcoming articles, and a brief conclusion. Each of the articles proposes terms that can be used to discuss “women on the road” from a feminist theoretical point of view. By gendering the discourse of travel and mobility I aim to renew the understanding of women in conjunction with mobility. By coining new signifiers I encourage readings of representations of mobile women in literature and film from a revised, feminist perspective.

In the first article I propose two alternative female on-the-road subjects: the model and the stripper, insisting on their roles as female agents rather than sexual objects. In the second article I investigate “the maternal conditioning” of mobility. To describe the situation of women in a network of overlapping discourses on motherhood and mobility from a feminist perspective, I suggest two cartographic neologisms: materotopia and materotopology.The third article emphasizes the significance of the roadmovie Thelma & Louise for the figuring of “successful” representations of female mobile subjects. Mobile women regender the road narrative in two steps: an appropriative turn and a metafictional turn.” The new features emerging with women’s textual appropriation of the road, I claim, must be appreciated as constituting a new aesthetic of the road.

The fourth article synthesizes the regendering performed by Second-Wave feminist narratives (e.g. Thelma and Louise) with the Third-Wave feminist sensibility displayed in collections like Goode’s Drive (2000). This generation female travelers demonstrate that women are no longer only mother figures waiting at home, sexual objects on the margin of the story, or passengers in the back of the car; they are mobilized, active, and empowered subjects, steering their own destiny. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
opponent
  • Professor Huggan, Graham, Faculty of Arts, University of Leeds
publishing date
type
Thesis
publication status
published
subject
keywords
female mobile subject, feminist theory, feminism, narratives of mobility, mobility, materotopia, materotopology, regendering, road topos, travel, travel writing, women-on-the-road
in
Docotral Theses from University of Gothenburg
pages
219 pages
publisher
Göteborgs Universitet/Karlskrona Tekniska Högskola
defense location
Inst of Technology Karlskrona Campus Gräsvik Room 230A
defense date
2003-10-18 13:15
language
English
LU publication?
no
id
fbc5dabb-b0da-43b9-a789-2188aca92c13 (old id 4586528)
alternative location
http://libris.kb.se/bib/9122177
http://hdl.handle.net/2077/16005
date added to LUP
2015-01-30 12:47:51
date last changed
2016-09-19 08:45:11
@misc{fbc5dabb-b0da-43b9-a789-2188aca92c13,
  abstract     = {This thesis is founded on the premise that traditional discourses of travel and mobility are inherently masculinist, that is, travel is seen as a masculinity rite-of passage for the Euro-American male, shaping his subjectivity through the othering and marginalization of women. Taking Jack Kerouac’s On the Road (1957), the epitome of masculinist travel literature, as a starting point for an examination of women’s road narratives, it poses the questions: what happens when women abandon their marginal positions and take to the road? How do authors write women into moving subjects? To answer these questions I investigate a number of mainly North American late twentieth-century narratives of the road, for example, Robinson’s Housekeeping (1980), Scott’s Thelma &amp; Louise (1991), Morrison’s Paradise (1997), Lopez’ Flaming Iguanas (1997), and Tuttle’s The Bad Girl’s Guide to the Open Road (1999). I also refer to pre-twentieth-century texts. What the texts have in common is a concern with women’s mobility.<br/><br>
 Methodologically this study posits itself at the crossroads of feminist, cultural, literary, and sociological inquiries. It is neither a pure literary-historical nor narratological investigation, its interest lies in exploring the topos of the road. The thesis consists of: an introduction, a chapter presenting my theoretical departures, two published and two forthcoming articles, and a brief conclusion. Each of the articles proposes terms that can be used to discuss “women on the road” from a feminist theoretical point of view. By gendering the discourse of travel and mobility I aim to renew the understanding of women in conjunction with mobility. By coining new signifiers I encourage readings of representations of mobile women in literature and film from a revised, feminist perspective.<br/><br>
In the first article I propose two alternative female on-the-road subjects: the model and the stripper, insisting on their roles as female agents rather than sexual objects. In the second article I investigate “the maternal conditioning” of mobility. To describe the situation of women in a network of overlapping discourses on motherhood and mobility from a feminist perspective, I suggest two cartographic neologisms: materotopia and materotopology.The third article emphasizes the significance of the roadmovie Thelma &amp; Louise for the figuring of “successful” representations of female mobile subjects. Mobile women regender the road narrative in two steps: an appropriative turn and a metafictional turn.” The new features emerging with women’s textual appropriation of the road, I claim, must be appreciated as constituting a new aesthetic of the road. <br/><br>
The fourth article synthesizes the regendering performed by Second-Wave feminist narratives (e.g. Thelma and Louise) with the Third-Wave feminist sensibility displayed in collections like Goode’s Drive (2000). This generation female travelers demonstrate that women are no longer only mother figures waiting at home, sexual objects on the margin of the story, or passengers in the back of the car; they are mobilized, active, and empowered subjects, steering their own destiny.},
  author       = {Enevold, Jessica},
  keyword      = {female mobile subject,feminist theory,feminism,narratives of mobility,mobility,materotopia,materotopology,regendering,road topos,travel,travel writing,women-on-the-road},
  language     = {eng},
  pages        = {219},
  publisher    = {ARRAY(0xa604c10)},
  series       = {Docotral Theses from University of Gothenburg},
  title        = {Women on the road : Regendering Narratives of Mobility},
  year         = {2003},
}