7. Kath Browne: ‘Beyond Opposition’ – How can we live together when we don’t agree?

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In this episode, Niamh chats with Professor Kath Browne, a social and cultural geographer at UCD. We discuss her fascinating ERC-funded project, Beyond Opposition, which seeks to explore the everyday experiences of people who are opposed to, or have concerns about, legislative and cultural changes around same sex marriage, abortion, gender self-identification and other sexual and gender equalities. The project also explores how we might address the social polarisation that has emerged between people occupying different standpoints on sexual and gender rights.
Kath’s work probes what it means for feminist/LGBT+ movements ‘when we feel both under threat and simultaneously we are gaining some forms of power?’. In our conversation, Kath discusses the heterogeneity among those opposed to different forms of gender/LGBT+ equalities; the ways in which they experience public space now that they can no longer assume that their views are widely accepted; the ethical and emotional aspects of doing research with people opposed to your very way of being; and the potential for radical empathy. Kath’s research also questions some of the unintended consequences of some LGBT+ activism, and asks how, if at all, we might overcome some of the social polarisation that defines contemporary politics and social life.
For more information on the Beyond Opposition project, check out: https://beyondopposition.org/
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