1st Edition

Difficult Conversations A Feminist Dialogue

    278 Pages 12 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book explores ‘difficult conversations’ in feminist theory as an integral part of social and theoretical transformations.

    Focusing on intersectionality within feminist theory, the book critically addresses questions of power and difference as a central feminist concern. It presents ethical, political, social, and emotional dilemmas while negotiating difficult conversations, particularly in terms of sexuality, class, ‘race’, ethnicity and cross-identification between the researcher and researched. Topics covered include challenging cultural relativism; queer marginalisation; research and affect; and feminism and the digital realm.

    This book is aimed primarily at students, lecturers and researchers interested in epistemology, research methodology, gender, identity, and social theory. The interdisciplinary nature of the book is aimed at reaching the broadest possible audience, including those engaged with feminist theory, anthropology, social policy, sociology, psychology and geography.



    Róisin Ryan-Flood, Isabel Crowhurst and Laurie James-Hawkins


    1. The gender wars and difficult conversations about trans: an interview with Meg-John Barker

    Meg-John Barker and Róisín Ryan-Flood

    2. Facing uneasiness in feminist research: The case of female genital cutting

    Kathy Davis

    3. Feminism and race in academia: an interview with Sandya Hewamanne

    Sandya Hewamanne and Róisín Ryan-Flood

    4. But you’re not defending sugar, are you?

    Karen Throsby


    5. Difficult research effects/affects: An intersectional-discursive-material-affective look at racialised sexualisation in public advertising

    Jessica Ringrose and Kaitlyn Regehr

    6. Calling out and piling on: deliberation and difficult conversations in feminist digital social spaces

    Akane Kanai

    7. Interviewing with intimacy: negotiating vulnerability and trust in difficult conversations

    Rikke Amundsen

    8. Co-existing with uncomfortable reflexivity: feminist fieldwork abroad during the pandemic

    Xintong Jia


    9. Sexing in the cities: sex, desire, and sexual health of black township women who love women

    Phoebe Kisubi Mbasalaki

    10. Researching sex: gender, taboos and revealing the intimate

    Laurie James-Hawkins

    11. Building a community of trust: participatory applied theatre workshop techniques for difficult conversations on consent

    Natasha Richards-Crisp

    12. Women’s experiences of marital rape in Turkey: ethics, voice and difficult conversations

    Gulcimen Karakeci


    13. Lost for words: difficult conversations about ethics, reflexivity and research governance

    Sophie Hales, Paul Galbally and Melissa Tyler

    14. Gender studies, academic purity and political relevance

    Sabine Grenz

    15. The feminist classroom in a neoliberal university

    Awino Okech

    16. Focus groups and the ‘insider researcher’; difficult conversations and intersectional complexities

    Clare Bowen

    17. Queering the academy

    Róisín Ryan-Flood


    Róisín Ryan-Flood is Professor of Sociology and Director of the Centre for Intimate and Sexual Citizenship (CISC) at the University of Essex. Her research interests include gender, sexuality, kinship, digital intimacies and feminist epistemology. She is the author of Lesbian Motherhood: Gender, Sexuality and Citizenship (2009), and co-editor of Secrecy and Silence in the Research Process (2010), Transnationalising Reproduction: Third Party Conception in a Globalised World (2018), and Queering Methodology: Lessons and Dilemmas from Lesbian Lives (2022). She is also co-editor of the journal Sexualities: Studies in Culture and Society.

    Isabel Crowhurst is Reader in Sociology at the University of Essex. Her work explores the construction of social norms around sexual practices and intimate lives. Her recent books include The Tenacity of Couple Norm (with Sasha Roseneil, Tone Hellesund, Ana Cristina Santos and Mariya Stoilova), and Third Sector Organizations in Sex Work and Prostitution (with Susan Dewey and Chimaraoke Izugbara).

    Laurie James-Hawkins is Senior Lecturer in Sociology and Deputy Director of the Centre for Intimate and Sexual Citizenship (CISC) at the University of Essex. She is a sociologist of health and gender, and her research interests include reproductive health, contraception, abortion, gender and sexuality among emerging adults. She has published widely on these topics. In recent years Dr. James-Hawkins has been studying sexual consent among university student populations.