Narrations and practices of mobility and immobility in the maintenance of gender dualisms
This paper analyses the role of practices and representations of mobility in supporting particular kinds of gender orders. While scholarship has shown the various ways women are materially and symbolically ‘fixed’ in place, less attention has been paid to how discourses and practices of mobility interface with systems of gender differentiation more broadly. This work is based on a robust empirical base of 55 interviews, 90 h of participant observation and an analysis of museum displays in Kalgoorile, Western Australia, an iconic frontier mining town selected for this investigation as a site of strongly bifurcated gender discourses. Analysing our field data through the lens of feminist theory which problematizes gender binaries, we argue that while some narrations of gender mobilities serve to reinforce gender binaries, lived practices of movement can also destabilise (idealised) notions of gendered movement. This paper extends conceptual work by advancing understanding about the role of mobility within systems of gender differentiation, showing how lived practices of mobility are just as likely to challenge idealised patterns of gendered movement as they are to reinforce these patterns.
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Social and Cultural Geography