This panel seeks to examine, from a gendered perspective, the varied ways in which groups and individuals negotiate emerging and enduring social issues. Complex and changing ways of defining gender and social problems will be challenged in light of examples from a range of ethnographic settings.
Modernity presents new arenas for social change to interact with culture and tradition. This panel seeks to examine, from a gendered perspective, the varied ways in which groups and individuals negotiate emerging and enduring social issues. How do changing perceptions of appropriateness affect day-to-day interactions? What is the societal position of the modern gendered person? Complex and changing ways of defining gender and gender roles in the modern world will be challenged in light of examples from a range of ethnographic settings. In addition, the panel seeks to examine new categories of gender and sexuality as interfaced with previously existing traditional spaces for non-heteronormative relations. The construction and implications of the notion of 'social problems' in both policy and everyday life will also be placed under scrutiny. Who decides what social problems are and how they should or should not be dealt with? These issues touch on the idea of 'empowerment,' not just as an aspect of the women's movement but also as applicable on a much larger scale. To what extent can empowerment become the path to a new type of disempowerment? In its overall approach, this panel will keep in mind and explore the relationship between ideology and empirical reality. This bears further implications for the anthropologist negotiating fieldwork in the context of technological, scientific and medical modernities.