Introduction: sexism - a problem with a name

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Autumn 2015
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This special issue is premised on a claim: to make sexism the explicit object of academic enquiry is to generate new knowledge and understanding. To understand how sexism works, to ask why sexism remains stubbornly persistent in shaping worlds, determining possibilities, deciding futures, despite decades of feminist activism, is to work out and to work through the very mechanics of power. Sexism seems to operate as a well-oiled machine that runs all the more smoothly and efficiently for being in constant use. The effects of this constancy are wearing on those to whom sexism is directed. In this special issue we reflect on how and why sexism remains so persistent without isolating sexism from other machineries of power. We hope to intervene collectively in the reproduction of sexism, to throw a spanner in the works or even to become, to borrow Sarah Franklin’s evocative phrase, a ‘wench in the works’. It takes conscious willed effort not to reproduce sexism.1 This special issue is part of this effort.

NF 86: Sexism