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Postfeminism as a critical tool for gender and language study

Litosseliti, E. ORCID: 0000-0002-3305-4713, Gill, R. ORCID: 0000-0002-2715-1867 & Favaro, L. (2019). Postfeminism as a critical tool for gender and language study. Gender and Language, 13(1), pp. 1-22. doi: 10.1558/genl.34599


This article introduces the concept of postfeminism and highlights its value for research in language and gender studies. After discussing theoretical, historical and backlash perspectives, we advance an understanding of postfeminism as a sensibility – a patterned-yet-contradictory phenomenon intimately connected to neoliberalism. We consider elements widely theorised as constituting the postfeminist sensibility, alongside concerns shared by those who take postfeminism as their object of critical inquiry, in addition to an analytic category for cultural critique. The article then illustrates how the postfeminist sensibility may operate empirically, in the context of the doing and undoing of gender equality policies in workplaces. The article responds to calls for the field of language and gender to reinvigorate its political impetus, and to engage with feminist scholarship on postfeminism, particularly as recently developed in media and cultural studies.

Publication Type: Article
Publisher Keywords: Postfeminism; gender and language studies; feminist cultural studies; popular feminism; gender equality
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
P Language and Literature > P Philology. Linguistics
Departments: School of Communication & Creativity > Media, Culture & Creative Industries > Culture & the Creative Industries
School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Language & Communication Science
School of Policy & Global Affairs > Violence and Society Centre
Text - Accepted Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.

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