Rethinking ‘the personal is political’: Enacting agency in the narrative of sexual harassment experiences in China

Rose L W LUQIU, Sara Xueting Liao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Through a close reading of 1904 individual stories of sexual harassment collected through an online survey, the study investigates how storytelling constitutes a feminist media practice that (re)defines sexual harassment, exposes the power relations at play in the situations described in the stories, and opens up space for discursive politics in everyday life. In focusing on the active production of identities through discourse, we demonstrate how women themselves make sense of their experience. Most of the storytellers struggled to define what sexual harassment meant to them in their first-person narrations of their experiences. Guided by feminist standpoint methodology and narrative analysis, the study recognizes the narratives as powerful sites of knowledge production from a marginalized group of people who rarely speak out about their sexual harassment experiences, and it reconsiders the importance of the personal in digital space, evaluating how varied narratives can be cooperative and participatory to enact agency in contentious politics.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)708-727
Number of pages20
JournalDiscourse and Society
Volume32
Issue number6
Early online date6 Jun 2021
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2021

User-Defined Keywords

  • China
  • contentious politics
  • discursive politics
  • feminist media practice
  • MeToo movement
  • narrative analysis
  • power relations
  • sexual harassment

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