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Girlhood and the Politics of Place

Girlhood and the Politics of Place OPEN ACCESS

Claudia Mitchell
Carrie Rentschler
Copyright Date: 2016
Published by: Berghahn Books
Pages: 332
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  • Book Info
    Girlhood and the Politics of Place
    Book Description:

    This book offers a comprehensive reading on how girlhood scholars construct and deploy research frameworks that directly engage girls in the research process.

    eISBN: 978-0-85745-647-2
    Subjects: Sociology
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Table of Contents

Export Selected Citations
  1. Acknowledgements (pp. xii-xii)
    Claudia Mitchell and Carrie Rentschler
  2. Carrie Rentschler and Claudia Mitchell

    From the bouncy pop songs of Taylor Swift to recent activist videos that make visible sexual and racial harassment against girls, and social media networks that reveal girl activists in action, girls loudly proclaim their needs and rights to places for and as girls. Place is a stage and practice of power; it is also the site of great pleasures and possibilities for girls. As Timothy Cresswell argues, we do not just experience something, we experience things “in place” (2014: 38). Experience, then, is also at the heart of what place means and does; it is something that is practiced...

  3. Section 1. Girls in Latitude and Longitude
    • Sandrina de Finney

      Like other Western liberal democracies, Canada—despite its global reputation as a progressive, multicultural country—owes its existence to centuries of colonial dominion over places and societies. As a result of the insatiable drive of European nations to expand their empires into new places, incalculable physical, spiritual, political, economic, and sociocultural traumas have been, and continue to be, enacted on Indigenous¹ peoples, with women and girls as prime targets. Over the course of my work with Indigenous girls as a front-line worker, community-based researcher, educator, and advocate, many encounters have profoundly affected me. In this chapter,² I revisit conversations that...

    • Marnina Gonick

      In a “discipline mainly of words” (Mead 1995: 79), how might the visual open other possibilities, questions, and ways of knowing for girlhood studies?¹ In this chapter I explore this question through a discussion of a video art installation project entitledVoices in Longitude and Latitude. While in some of my previous work I have also been interested in using video as a visual methodology in exploring girlhood subjectivities (Gonick 2003), withVoices in Longitude and LatitudeI worked with a professional filmmaker to create this video installation.² We videotaped eighty hours of documentary vérité³ footage, landscapes and cityscapes, domestic...

    • Catherine Driscoll

      On a bright, clear winter Saturday I’m walking back from the river to the main street in Small Central Town¹ in inland New South Wales (NSW) with three girls I’m trying to get to talk to me.² Jenny, Nerida, and Kaylah³ have become less wary than most here, probably because I don’t hassle them about hanging out at the river. Instead I’m interested in what they do there, and why there. They’re dubious, of course, and incredulous that anyone pays me for talking to them, but curious too. We stop at the newsagents, talking about magazines, and Jenny laughs at...

    • Rebecca Raby and Shauna Pomerantz

      A powerful and popular argument has dominated discussions of young people’s academic success for the last fifteen years: girls are thriving in school, while boys are trailing behind (see, for example, Pollack 1998; Kindlon and Thompson 2002; DiPrete and Buchmann 2013). This pattern is, in turn, interpreted as a sign that girls now live in a world in which gender inequality has disappeared or perhaps even been reversed. This narrative is part of a postfeminist, neoliberal context that denies structural gender inequalities that hinder girls. Instead, commensurate with a postfeminist, neoliberal sensibility, we see an overwhelming celebration of girls’ individualized...

  4. Section 2. Situated Knowledge, Self-Reflexive Practice
    • Claudia Mitchell

      Charting, as the definitions above suggest, can be highly technical. But if one takes a more figurative approach that sees that terms such as “geographical map or plan,” and “circular map,” and “route,” and “plot” can be both denotative and connotative, charting may be the perfect term to describe the interdisciplinary area of girlhood studies and the ways in which it involves navigating the terrain of an academic and activist area. Several questions direct this route-clearing, which, from the outside, may seem to be rough and rocky, with few discernible trails, and no clear sense of where the trails start...

    • Jessica Ringrose and Emma Renold

      International research has documented the phenomenon of contemporary young women repudiating or disinvesting from identifications with feminism (Jowett 2004: 99; Baker 2008; Scharff 2012). Indeed, feminism is frequently constituted as both abject and obsolete by a postfeminist media context that suggests women are now equal in education, the workplace, and the home (McRobbie 2008; Ringrose and Renold 2010). Most of the scholarship on the relationship between new femininities (Gill and Scharff 2011) and different forms of feminism or postfeminism (Budgeon 2011), does not, however, explicitly deal with adolescence and teen girls’ relationships to feminism, although there is some writing on...

    • Caroline Caron

      Girlhood studies is a rights-based approach to research and activism that aims to achieve gender equality for girls of all ages in local and global contexts (Mitchell and Reid-Walsh 2009). Seeking to foster girls’ and young women’s empowerment across contexts and locations, feminist scholars and activists working in this field demonstrate a strong commitment to enabling girls’ participation in their communities and to listening carefully to girls’ voices in the research process (Brown and Gilligan 1992; Mazzarella and Pecora 2007). Indeed, despite being relatively new, the field of girlhood studies is already “replete with references to participation and the need...

    • Teresa Strong-Wilson

      This chapter combines an autobiographical with a biographical approach to a project of exploring what may be described as acoming of agerelationship between a daughter and her mother, in the sense of a relationship coming into its own (Mitchell and Reid-Walsh 2008). The chapter explores the mother-daughter relation (Grumet 1988) through the prism of the author’s almost decade-long memory-work with her mother, Maggie, at a time when she was starting to experience memory loss. An auto/biographical approach considers the relationships between autobiography and biography (King 2004); one line of inquiry suggests that, in lieu of “metaboliz[ing] the story...

    • Tatiana Fraser, Nisha Sajnani, Alyssa Louw and Stephanie Austin

      In this chapter, we engage in a reflexive process of studying an organization for girls with which we have all been involved as adult women. While engaging in a reflexive exercise, we ask the following questions: What can we learn about networks as vehicles for change? What have we learned from facilitating a diverse network, and how have we come to know this? Where does this process take us?

      This chapter has two main sections. First, it presents the theoretical frameworks that have informed the growth, theory of change, and impact of the Girls Action Foundation (GAF)¹ and the Girls...

  5. Section 3. Girls and Media Spaces
    • Loren Lerner

      In 2010, as an art historian interested in pictures of children, I set out to teach what I thought would be a typical art history seminar. The course objective was to analyze imagery of childhood found in the works of Canadian artists, and then, based on the assignments, to produce a website. Partway through the seminar, as a result of input from the young women in the class, the focus shifted from imagery of childhood to pictures of girls. This new focus motivated me to approach the concept of place differently, not as the place of girls in works of...

    • Jacqueline Reid-Walsh

      Modding is a term we connect to new media and participatory culture. Henry Jenkins, inConvergence Culture: Where Old and New Media Collide(2008), discusses modding in terms of how gamers make additions to a favorite game by editing source code or using tools that come with the game to produce their own content. Is this practice current only today? How did children in earlier periods, particularly girls, engage in a participatory fashion with their texts and what does this tell us about girlhood? Can an historical angle contribute to scholarly efforts to push girlhood studies beyond a present-day focus?...

    • Susan Cahill

      In 1906, the Irish author LT Meade was dubbed “The Queen of Girls’-Book Makers”¹ by a scathing reviewer of four of her novels inThe Saturday Reviewon 15 December, who asked “How is Mrs Meade possible?” because of her prodigious output and popularity with a young female readership. The review resulted in a plethora of letters to the editor in the following weeks, including an indignant reply from Meade herself and an impassioned letter of defense from a group of Dulwich school-girls who proclaimed: “We her girl-friends will not stop reading her books, the writer of the most thrilling...

    • Geraldine Bloustien

      Over the past two decades, two major and interrelated developments have had considerable impact on popular music practices: the development and accessibility of affordable, easy-to-use new digital technologies and the blurring of traditional boundaries between production and consumption, musicians and fans (Théberge 2004; Prior 2008, 2010). At the heart of these protean developments, we find the DJ often a self-sufficient amateur artist, musician, performer (Prior 2008, 2010), with the demonstrated ability to control and influence his experiential music community through his skills, knowledge, taste, and enthusiasm (Prior 2008; Herman 2006; Montano 2010). Yet the role that girls and young women...

    • Connie Morrison

      Claiming identity is a complicated, fluid, and complex process. For girls, it often means actively taking up or denying popular discourses around feminine ideals, to some extent at least, or blindly following along without much consideration of such issues at all. Either way, how girls negotiate identity in online places is as diverse and varied as the individuals¹ themselves, their economic and material locations, and their shifting purpose for engaging with technology. But the options on offer to girls as they construct avatar self-images are less fluid. Among the locations in which girlhood identity is being constructed socially and culturally,...

  6. Section 4. Studying the Spaces of Girls’ Activism
    • Jessalynn Keller

      On Saturday, 10 November 2012,CNN.compublished an article asking: “Where are all the millennial feminists?” The article, written by college student and former CNN intern Hannah Weinberger, grapples with the supposed disavowal of feminism by young women today. And while Weinberger does include the voices of young feminists such as twenty-year-old author and blogger Julie Zeilinger, the author’s prognosis for feminism is uncertain at best in her portrayal of a movement hampered by the resistance of too many young women to be truly revolutionary today.

      This all-too-common narrative is often employed in mainstream media to suggest that feminism is...

    • Lena Palacios

      This chapter seeks to interrogate normative notions of at-risk girlhood and violence, offering a roadmap for a broader terminology and reconceptualization of gender in girlhood studies. I argue that studying the knowledge produced by girl-driven activist organizations enables activist-scholars to rethink what constitutes girlhood from a perspective critical of how criminalized, homeless and street-involved, and incarcerated girls and gender non-conforming youth¹ have been disciplined, managed, corrected, and punished as prisoners, patients, mothers, and victims of multiple, interconnected forms of violence through imprisonment, medicalization, and secure care. By showcasing case studies of anti-violence and abolitionist activism that contest sexual violence, colonial...

    • Lysanne Rivard

      This chapter explores the use of visual participatory methods to integrate girls’ voices into the decision-making processes that shape their experiences of physical activity and sport in secondary schools in Rwanda. It draws on a study in which girls in Rwandan secondary schools, using the visual participatory method, Photovoice, photographed their feedback and their suggestions on how to improve their lived experiences of physical activity and sport in school. Anchored in girlhood studies and participatory methodology, the objective of the study was to ensure that program implementers, experts, and policy makers would actively discuss and reflect upon girls’ issues of...

    • Katie MacEntee

      In South Africa, 5.1 million people are living with HIV or AIDS (UNAIDS 2012); an estimated 2.1 million are adolescents (between the ages of ten and nineteen years), and adolescent women make up 60 percent of this cohort (Kasedde et al. 2013). There is a critical need to address the reasons why women under the age of twenty in South African contexts are eight times more likely than their male counterparts to contract HIV (Abdool Karim 2013). Factors that contribute to girls’ increased risk are gender-based violence and sexual coercion; poverty; a tendency for young women to have older, sexually...

  7. Epilogue (pp. 333-334)

    “You go girl!” That’s the writing on the wall depicted on the front cover of this book, a part of the cityscape that signposts (and claims) the relevance of place and space for girls and girlhood studies. Symbolically, this image counters the sense that there is no place for girls and young women; for them, many public and private spaces remain dangerous. It is clear that while much territory has been covered by the chapters in this book, there is still more to be explored, and theorized, in relation to the spaces and places in which girls live and learn,...

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International
This book is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International.
Funding is provided by Knowledge Unlatched