Ambivalent Gender Accountability. Male Florists in the Swiss Context

Friday, 3 July 2015: 10:15 AM-11:45 AM
TW1.2.04 (Tower One)
Nicky Le Feuvre, University of Lausanne, Lausanne, Switzerland
Isabelle Valérie Zinn, University of Lausanne, Lausanne, Switzerland; EHESS, Paris, Paris, France
This article investigates the ways in which male florists mobilise, neutralise or challenge sex category membership in the course of their daily activities. Our main interest lies in the idea that individuals invest gender norms with varying levels of salience in specific social contexts. We therefore focus on the ways in which male florists account for their professional activities in normative gendered ways, whilst also stressing the opportunities for challenging gender norms that are associated with the minority status of being a man in a highly feminised occupation. Our findings will suggest that the concept of “accountability”, combining the dimensions of orientation to sex category, gender assessment and enforcement (Hollander, 2012), provides a useful framework for analysing situations that apparently do not correspond to gender accomplishment in the normative sense of the term. In conclusion, we show that the accountability of male florists to sex categories and gender norms varies considerably, according to the particular dimension of their experiences studied and that in this sense, sex category membership is activated, neutralised or challenged with varying levels of intensity on the different scenes of professional florists.