Is interdisciplinarity really possible? A case of anthropology and gender/queer studies in contemporary Poland
(University of Wroclaw)
Paper short abstract:
The proposed paper offers an autoethnographically-based analysis of the possibilities for creating interdisciplinary approaches at the intersections between social/cultural anthropology and feminism-inspired gender/queer studies that have evolved over the last two decades in contemporary Poland.
Paper long abstract:
Considering that both social/cultural anthropology and feminism-inspired gender/queer studies have been to a high degree adapted in contemporary Poland in the course of the so called "systemic transition" since the late 1980s, it is not surprising that debates on appropriate forms that both disciplines should assume have been basically structured by some versions of the local (non-western) vs. global (western) categories. However, when the ongoing discussions are approached through the prism of gender/sexuality and politics, the essentialist vs. constructivist dichotomy appears equally important. The whole situation is further complicated by the fact that due to changing contexts (both locally and globally) various perspectives have been gaining or losing their prominence within both disciplines. Having participated in anthropological as well as in feminist/queer academic debates for almost two decades, in the proposed paper I investigate the possibilities for creating interdisciplinary approaches at the intersections of the above discourses, which all produce extremely dynamic, complex and heterogeneous settings. With this end in view I analyze in what ways various politics of identity formation; different meanings that concepts of gender/sexuality and politics assume; and varied ideas of legitimate public involvement work for and against actual and potential cooperation. As my hitherto experience shows, while both disciplines can (and occasionally do) effectively help each other with moving beyond their respective confinements, in the specific Polish contexts real interdisciplinarity taken as an integrated approach toward gender/sexuality and politics seems difficult to achieve.