Notes: Sara Ahmed, “Being in Question” in Living a Feminist Life

Ahmed, Sara. (2017). Being in question. Living a feminist life. Durham: Duke University Press, 115-134.

Summary:

Ahmed discusses how bodies that are not accommodated by institutional norms are made to give account of their arrival, to their being, and to their doing.

Keywords: feminism, feminist theory, theory, intersectionality, diversity, access

Quotations:

“To be questioned, to be questionable, sometimes can feel like a residence: a question becomes something you reside in. To reside in a question can feel like not being where you are at” (p. 116).

“These questions only appear to be questions; they often work as assertions. When you are stopped, a right to stop you is asserted. In being assertive, such speech acts render you questionable, as someone who can be questioned, as someone who should be willing to receive a question. A body can become a question mark” (p. 117).

“For some to be is to become an imposition or restriction on the freedom of others” (p. 122).

“Diversity work: when you have to try to make others comfortable with the fact of your own existence” (p. 131).

“When we do not recede into the background, when we stand out or stand apart, we can bring the background into the front: before we can confront something we have to front up to how much depends on the background” (p. 132).

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