Wench Tactics? Openings in Conditions of Closure
Forthcoming in Feminist Legal Studies
25 Pages Posted: 27 Sep 2017
Date Written: August 1, 2017
Picking up the question of what FLaK might be, this editorial considers the relationship between openness and closure in feminist legal studies. How do we draw on feminist struggles for openness in common resources, from security to knowledge, as we inhabit a compromised space in commercial publishing? We think about this first in relation to the content of this issue: on imagebased abuse continuums, asylum struggles, trials of protestors, customary justice, and not-so-timely reparations. Our thoughts take us through the different ways that openness and closure work in struggles against violence, cruel welcomes, and re-arrangements of code and custom. Secondly, we share some reflections on methodological openness and closure as the roundtable conversation on asylum, and Welsh’s interview with Riles, remind us of #FLaK2016 and its method of scattering sources as we think about how best to mix knowledges. Thirdly, prompted by the FLaK kitchen table conversations on openness, publishing and ‘getting the word out’, we respond to Kember’s call to ‘open up open access’.
We explain the different current arrangements for opening up FLS content and how green open access, the sharedIt initiative, author request and publisher discretion present alternatives to gold open access. Finally, drawing on Franklin and Spade, we show how there are a range of ‘wench tactics’ – adapting gifts, stalling and resting - which we deploy as academic editors who are trying to have an impact on the access, use and circulation of our journal, even though we do not own the journal we edit. These wench tactics are alternatives to the more obvious or reported tactic of resignation, or withdrawing academic labour from editing and reviewing altogether. They help us think about brewing editorial time, what ambivalence over our 25th birthday might mean, and how to inhabit painful places. In this, we respond in our own compromised way to da Silva’s call not to forget the native and slave as we mix FLaK, and repurpose shrapnel, in our common commitments.
Keywords: Feminism; Commons; Publishing; Openness; Wench Tactics; FLaK; Open Access; Socio-Legal Methods
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