De-producing Gender: The Politics of Sex, Decertification and the Figure of Economy
Feminist Theory, https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/14647001221148639 Online First, Open Access
Posted: 19 Apr 2023 Last revised: 16 Aug 2023
Date Written: February 5, 2023
This article explores the contribution that the figure of economy can make to understanding gender in contemporary Britain, focusing on gender as a social quality and legal category that is produced, allocated and used. The article proceeds in two parts. The first part considers the politics of sex-based feminism and gender-as-diversity through an economic frame. The second part focuses, in detail, on one specific juncture where these diverging politics meet: decertification – a law reform proposal to dismantle the system for assigning, registering and regulating legal sex. Decertification is a controversial strategy. Advocates argue that self-expression and interpersonal communication, whether through gender or against it, is hindered by a state-based disciplinary certification system. Critics disagree. They argue that dismantling legal communication about a person's sex makes it harder to put categories of female and woman to remedial use. Drawing on other uses of certification, including commercial ones, this article suggests that certification not only communicates information about a process, quality or thing; it also contributes to their production. The impact of decertification on how gender is produced, what gets produced as gender and the uses to which gender is put are central to determining whether decertification is beneficial to a progressive transformative gender politics.
Keywords: gender, sex, birth registration, certification, economy
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