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Deviant Women

Cultural, Linguistic and Literary Approaches to Narratives of Femininity

Tiina Mäntymäki, Marinella Rodi-Risberg and Anna Foka

This multidisciplinary collection of articles illuminates the ways in which the concept of female deviance is represented, appropriated, re-inscribed and refigured in a wide range of texts across time, cultures and genres. Such a choice of variety shows that representations of deviance accommodate meaning-making spaces and possibilities for resistance in different socio-cultural and literary contexts. The construct of the deviant woman is analysed from literary, sociolinguistic and historical-cultural perspectives, revealing insights about cultures and societies. Furthermore, the studies recognise and explain the significance of the concept of deviance in relation to gender that bespeaks a contemporary cultural concern about narratives of femininity.
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← 8 | 9 → Tiina Mäntymäki, Marinella Rodi-Risberg, Anna Foka

You may write me down in historyWith your bitter, twisted liesYou may trod me in the very dirtBut still, like dust, I’ll rise.

Maya Angelou: I’ll Rise

This collection of articles is about women who deviate from socially constructed norms of femininity. It is about actual or fictional women who, in their narrative portrayals, shake up their contemporary social order through their acts and life choices. The contributors to this volume show the insistence of these women, portrayed in sources from different times and cultures, to claim visibility and recognition in contexts where ‘woman’ denotes marginalisation and otherness. Thus, it is also about the production of knowledge beyond established and often male norms.

This volume embraces a revisionist project in that the contributions included in it produce (re)readings of narratives of femininities that highlight women’s strategies for navigating the world by way of subtle negotiation or violent refusal to conform to social requirements. The authors of this volume trace the cultural and societal backgrounds of how women become defined as deviant through discussions of gender, power, ideology, context and tradition. In their chapters, they (re)construct both readings of seemingly conformist femininity as narratives of deviance and break down existing, often well-established and influential narratives of deviant femininity. Thus, the contributions provide readers with a glimpse into a number of cultural and social practices and spheres where women have been and...

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