Re-Negotiating Subjectivities and Dichotomies within the Contexts of Re-Virginisation and Migration

Thursday, December 15, 2022 - 14:00
Şerif Mardin Seminar Room
Department of Sociology

Sociology Talks


Re-Negotiating Subjectivities and Dichotomies

within the Contexts of Re-Virginisation and Migration


This presentation will focus on two research projects. The first project explores women’s embodied and affective experiences of re-virginisation in Turkey, which refers to the regaining of women’s ‘technical’ virginity even though they might have had penile-vaginal intercourse before. In order to be ‘marriageable’ again, women might either be operated on to have a so- called new hymen via hymenoplasty or buy a product called artificial hymen. Based on in-depth interviews with healthcare staff and re-virginising women, and the analysis of online conversations among re-virginising women, I argue that re-virginisation is a process, rather than a moment. Within this process, this presentation will focus on the performance of pain in relation to women’s immediate social environment, as well as their affective performance in medical settings in order to ‘qualify’ as a patient.

The second and current research project takes into its centre the relationship between migrant doctors and their (potential) patients in medical settings. Based on in-depth interviews with both migrant doctors and their patients, as well as online conversations among patients, this research illustrates the double construction of the notions of East and West within the Turkish context. Furthermore, employing concepts such as “everyday bordering” (Yuval-Davis 2018) and “performing citizenship” (Isin 2019), the project unpacks the dynamics that medical and epistemic authority go through when migrant doctors enter the picture.

Both projects cut across the re-negotiation of subjectivities and deconstruction of dichotomies (such as virgin/non-virgin and foreign/local) in relation to social norms, and medical and political mechanisms of control. During the processes of substantial change in their lives, participants of both research projects at once reproduce and challenge these pre-assigned dichotomies surrounding being via their becoming (Deleuze and Guattari 1980), a simultaneous compliance and subversion that takes the forms of a “patriarchal bargain” (Kandiyoti 1988) in the former research, and an “(in)visibility bargain” (Pugh 2017) in the latter.

Hande Güzel

University of Cambridge

Department of Sociology


December 15, 2022


Şerif Mardin Seminar Room