Embodied Social Capital: An Analysis of the Production of African-Canadian Women’s Identity and Social Network Access
Brockett, Terra Lee
MetadataShow full item record
This study examines how race and gender mediate access to social networks. Following the work of Louise Holt, the theoretical framework is informed by Judith Butler’s work on performativity with Pierre Bourdieu’s work on embodiment as well as W.E. Dubois’ notion of double consciousness and Gloria Anzadua’s concept of the New Mestiza (2008; Anzaldua, 1999; and Falcon, 2008). Research methods were framed by Black feminist theory and included eight semi-structured interviews with racialized African Canadian women who ranged in age, length of time lived in Canada and had a range of social networks, incomes, and children. The findings in this research identified the racial and gender markings experienced by participants, the methods participants used to negotiate these markings and the diversity of social networks participants accessed as a result, in part, of this negotiation. Participants identified being racially marked as degenerate and not belonging to Canada. The racial marking of their bodies was governed by white hegemony that informs both the Canadian nationhood and colonial narratives. In terms of gender, participants identified being regulated by masculine hegemony through the cult of True Womanhood and neo-liberal principles. They further identified images that reflected the compounding nature of race and gender as they were also regulated by the images of the Jezebel and Matriarch that are specific to women recognized as African. Participants consciously embodied alternative racial and gender markings of their bodies to produce identities that spoke back to unfavorable discursive marking. They also accessed different social networks as a way to negotiate or embody particular markings of their bodies. This negotiation of gender and race led to the production of a diverse range of social networks.