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All inclusive: lustrum UG, 5-15 June 2019

Science programme Conference: “Growing together: Celebrating diversity and fostering inclusion”

Inge Blockmans

Inge Blockmans
Inge Blockmans

Manoeuvres in the dark: Re-creating (new) stories about sexuality and the body

My interdisciplinary, qualitative research project explores the lived experiences of being a woman with sexual desires living in and with a body with spinal cord injury. It was conducted at the Disability Studies group at the Faculty of Psychology and Pedagogical Sciences (Ghent University) and the Institute for Family and Sexuality Studies, Faculty of Medicine (KU Leuven), and is strongly influenced by my background in theatre and literature and social psychology.

Through working with auto-ethnography, life stories and ethnographic fieldwork triggering transformation, the project digs into the potential scope for movement/possibility that these (and any?) women experience to have when it comes to pleasurable and satisfactory intimacy with themselves and their partners through their body.

This presentation aims to highlight the value of research participants’ stories and discuss how research can be humanised (away from objectification and standardisation) from data collection over data analysis to write-up. Hereby I underscore the view of research participants as fully human, not just "bodies with a deficit", and living in a material-discursive world.

Inge Griet Emy Blockmans (MA, MSc) has a background in linguistics, literature, and theatre (Antwerp University, Belgium) and social psychology (University of Surrey, UK). She currently works as a joint PhD candidate at the Faculty of Psychology and Pedagogical Sciences at Ghent University and the Institute for Family and Sexuality Studies, Faculty of Medicine at KU Leuven with the support of an FWO-Flanders PhD fellowship.

Her research focuses on women with spinal cord injury’s lived experience of their bodies and intimate pleasure. Where are the knots and openings in re-encountering their bodies, being different from before and labelled by Western medicine as dysfunctional? And what do these processes tell us about our collective chronic conditions: how does a body become a list of deficits or “too something”, or a source of pleasure, exploration and creation? The project is about moving beyond the realms of conditioning and extending the scope of our imaginative manoeuvrability: the space we believe to have to move and experience (intimacy and pleasure), spaces created by ourselves yet always in intra-action with the materiality and discursive practices we are exposed to in our lives.

Throughout her work with auto-ethnography, life stories, collective biography, ethnographic fieldwork involving hospital-internships, photography and dance, alongside academic writing experiments inspired by poetry and theatre, she aims to find ways to study sexuality and embodiment away from the objectification and immobilisation of people and their life stories.

Last modified:11 April 2019 11.49 a.m.
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