‘Feminazi’ Is the New ‘Slut’: Encountering Discomfort and Negotiating Vulnerability as a Feminist Guerrilla Anthropologist

This paper will look at feelings of discomfort and the concept of vulnerability in the context of conducting ethnography of resistance as a feminist activist. The newly-coined term ‘guerrilla anthropologist’ is used to refer to research driven by personal activism and political perspective. Drawing upon the author’s personal experience in the field in the UK and Spain, this paper will investigate the unsettling position in which feminist scholar activists might find themselves due to a mechanism of double marginalisation. On the one hand, there is the often hostile activity in the ethnographic field inspired by antifeminist discourse generated within fascist/alt-right blocks, giving rise to the challenges of exposure to gaslighting, hostility, hate speech and, in some cases, threats of physical and sexual violence. On the other hand, the trending attack on gender discourse within intellectual/progressive circles of the Left which feminist activists and scholars often used as a safe space to open up about their experiences, particularly scholars who are members of minority communities and gender violence survivors. This paper will explore the ways in which this discomforting positionality is experienced and the methodological negotiations of the concept of vulnerability itself, moving beyond the victim/hero binary. It will also look at discomfort and vulnerability as concepts attached to political agency inviting acknowledgement and visibility within and outside academia.


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