Helsingin yliopisto


Helsingin yliopiston verkkojulkaisut

Helsingin yliopisto, Helsinki 2006

Keho: Omaa sukupuolta koskevan tiedon ja ymmärryksen muotoutumisen perusta transsukupuolisilla

Hanna Vilkka

Väitöskirja, marraskuu 2006.
Helsingin yliopisto, valtiotieteellinen tiedekunta, sosiologian laitos.

Body: The foundation for the formation of the knowledge and conception of gender identity among the transgendered

The purpose of this study is to increase the understanding of the experiential formation of the knowledge and conception of one's gender and the foundation of that experience. This study is based on qualitative method and phenomenological approach. The research material consists: Herculine Barbin's Herculine Barbin, Christine Jorgensen's Christine Jorgensen. A Personal Autobiography Kate Bornstein's Gender Outlaw and Deirdre McCloskey's Crossing. A Memoir. The theoretical frame of reference for the study is Michel Henry's phenomenology of the body.

The most important relations regarding the formation of the knowledge and conception of gender identity at which the sensing of the body is directed are human being's own subjective, organic and objective bodily form and other people and representatives of institutions. The concept of resistance reveals that gender division and the stereotypes and accountability related to it have dual character in culture. As a resistance they contain the potential for triggering the reflections about one's own gender. As an instrument they may function as means of exercising power and, as such, of monitoring gender normality.

According to the research material the sources for the knowledge and conception of gender identity among the transgendered are literature, medical articles and books, internet, clerical and medical professionals, friends and relatives, and the peer group, that is, other transgendered. The transgendered are not only users of gender knowledge, but many of them are also active producers and contributors of gender knowledge and especially of knowledge about transgenderness. The problem is that this knowledge is unevenly distributed in society. The users of gender knowledge are mainly the transgendered, researchers of different disciplines specialized in gender issues, and medical and healthcare professionals specialized in gender adjustments. Therefore not everyone has the sufficient knowledge to support one's own or someone other's life as a gendered being in a society and ability to achieve gender autonomy. The quality of this knowledge is also rather narrow from the gender multiplicity point of view.

The feeling of strangeness and the resulting experience of enstrangement have, like stereotypes, dual character in culture. They may be the reason for people's social disadvantage or exclusion, but the experiences may just as well be a resource for people's gender maturity and culture. As a cultural resource in gender issue this would mean innovativity in creating, upholding and changing cultural gender division, stereotypes and accounting customs. A transgendered may then become a liminal that aspires to change the limits related to resistances in society.

Transgenderness is not only a medical issue but, first and foremost, an issue bearing upon human situation as a whole, or, in other words, related to the art of life. The subject of gender adjustment treatments is not only gender itself but the art of life as a gendered being. Transgenderness would then require multi-discipline co-operation.

The title page of the publication

Julkaisu on tekijänoikeussäännösten alainen. Teosta voi lukea ja tulostaa henkilökohtaista käyttöä varten. Käyttö kaupallisiin tarkoituksiin on kielletty.

© Helsingin yliopisto 2006

Viimeksi päivitetty 09.10.2006

Yhteystiedot, Contact information E-thesis Helsingin yliopisto, University of Helsinki