Deputy Director of the Centre for the Study of Women and Gender
Room: E0.19 (Social Sciences Building)
Telephone: +44 (0) 24765 74742
Fax: +44 (0) 24765 23497
Maria do Mar is a feminist ethnographer with a background in Sociology and a commitment to interdisciplinary, and socially engaged, research and teaching. In 2014, she received the International Congress of Qualitative Inquiry's Worldwide Award for Best Qualitative Book in Spanish or Portuguese (2010-2014), in recognition of 'outstanding and ground-breaking scholarship which expands not only the boundaries of academic thinking, but also the limits of our social and political imagination, enabling us to reimagine and change society'. In 2017 she was awarded a Philip Leverhulme Prize, in recognition of her 'achievement as an outstanding researcher whose work has already attracted international attention and whose future career is exceptionally promising'. In 2018, she received the Feminist and Women's Studies Association Prize for Best Book of the Year.
She joined the Department of Sociology at the University of Warwick in September 2013, after working as a Lecturer at the University of Leeds, as an LSE Fellow at the London School of Economics and Political Science, and as a Research Fellow at the Centre for Excellence in Gender Research (GEXcel) at the University of Örebro (Sweden).
She has also been a Visiting Professor at the University of Tampere (Finland), Radboud University (the Netherlands) and the University of Lisbon (Portugal). She holds a PhD in Gender from the Gender Institute at LSE, and a BSc+MSc (Distinction) in Sociology from the Lisbon University Institute (ISCTE-IUL, Portugal).
Alongside her academic work, she maintains an active involvement in feminist movements at local and international, grassroots and policy levels, having been a member of the executive committee of various Portuguese and European non-governmental organisations. In 2017, she became an official Expert Advisor to the Portuguese Commission for Citizenship and Gender Equality.
Maria do Mar’s most well-known research project, funded by FCT, is an ethnographic study of how academics discursively and institutionally demarcate the boundaries of ‘proper’ scholarly knowledge. She is particularly interested in examining how scholarship in women's, gender, feminist studies (WGFS) gets positioned vis-à-vis those boundaries. The project brings together feminist epistemology, Michel Foucault’s work and debates in science and technology studies (STS), and uses Portugal as a case study. It analyses these epistemic demarcations through a combination of qualitative methods, including participant observation in a range of sites of academic work and sociability, interviews and archival research. The main publication emerging from this project is the book Power, Knowledge and Feminist Scholarship: an Ethnography of Academia, published by Routledge.
Through this epistemologically-grounded ethnographic study, Maria do Mar has proposed an innovative framework for the study of negotiations of what she calls the “epistemic status” of WGFS, i.e. the degree to which, and terms in which, WGFS knowledge claims are recognised as fulfilling the requisite criteria to be considered credible and authoritative. Her mapping of these negotiations has made valuable contributions to our understanding of the nature and effects of epistemic hierarchies of disciplines and countries, the relationship between epistemic boundary-work and contemporary changes in the political economy of science and higher education, and power relations within academic institutions and communities.
Maria do Mar has also conducted research on the negotiation of gender and sexuality among children and young people in schools, for which she received the International Congress of Qualitative Inquiry's Worldwide Award for Best Qualitative Book in Spanish or Portuguese (2010 - 2014). For more on this work, click here.
She has also written, for example, on feminist methodologies and pedagogies, contemporary transformations in higher education and science policy in Europe, gender equality policy, men’s discourses about masculinity and fatherhood, and issues of language difference and translation in social science research.
- Pereira, Maria do Mar (2017), Power, Knowledge and Feminist Scholarship: an Ethnography of Academia, Routledge.
For reviews of the book in English, see Maddie Breeze in Women's Studies International Forum, Rachel O'Neill in Feminist Theory, Isabelle Hertner and Katherine Twamley in The British Journal of Sociology, Daniel Cardoso in Feminist Encounters, Alison Bartlett in Outskirts, Lena Weber in Gender a výzkum, Lenka Vráblíková in Czech Sociological Review, and Mona Mannevuo in NORA - Nordic Journal of Feminist and Gender Research. For reviews of the book in other languages, see Ana Oliveira in ex aequo (in Portuguese).
The book has received significant and widespread media coverage across several Portuguese newspapers, magazines and television and radio stations, including Público and Observador.
For an interview with Maria do Mar (in Portuguese), where she summarises some findings from the book, click here.
- Pereira, Maria do Mar (2012), Fazendo Género no Recreio: a Negociação do Género em Espaço Escolar (Doing Gender in the Playground: the Negotiation of Gender in Schools), Lisboa: Imprensa de Ciências Sociais.
The book was awarded the International Congress of Qualitative Inquiry's Worldwide Award for Best Qualitative Book in Spanish or Portuguese (2010 - 2014), in recognition of 'outstanding and ground-breaking scholarship which expands not only the boundaries of academic thinking, but also the limits of our social and political imagination, enabling us to reimagine and change society'.
For reviews (in Portuguese) of this book, see João Manuel de Oliveira in Revista Estudos Feministas and Sofia Santos in ex aequo.
The book received significant and widespread media coverage across several Portuguese newspapers, magazines and radio stations, including Antena 1, Ciência Hoje, Expresso, Público, P3, Diário de Notícias, Mais Educativa, Time Out – Lisboa, and Visão. It was also featured as the headline cover story for Destak, the Portuguese equivalent of the Metro.
For University of Warwick press releases on this, see here and here. For interviews with Maria do Mar (in Portuguese), where she summarises the key findings from the book, click here (radio) and here (TV).
Peer-Reviewed Journal Articles
Pereira, Maria do Mar (2019), "Boundary-work that does not work: Social Inequalities and the Non-Performativity of Scientific Boundary-work", Science, Technology, & Human Values, 44 (2), 338-365.
Pereira, Maria do Mar (2016), "Struggling within and beyond the Performative University: Articulating Activism and Work in an «Academia Without Walls»", Women's Studies International Forum, 54, 100-110.
- Pereira, Maria do Mar (2015), “Higher Education Cutbacks and the Reshaping of Epistemic Hierarchies: an Ethnographic Study of the Case of Feminist Scholarship”, Sociology, 49 (2), 287-304.
- Pereira, Maria do Mar (2014), “The Importance of Being ‘Modern’ and Foreign: Feminism and the Epistemic Status of Nations”, Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, 39 (3), 627-657.
- Pereira, Maria do Mar (2012), "«Feminist Theory is Proper Knowledge, But..»: The Status of Feminist Scholarship in the Academy", Feminist Theory, 13 (3), 283-303.
- Pereira, Maria do Mar (2012), “Uncomfortable Classrooms: Rethinking the Role of Discomfort in Feminist Teaching”, European Journal of Women’s Studies. 19 (1), 128-135.
- Pereira, Maria do Mar (2013), “On Being Invisible and Dangerous: The Challenges of Conducting Ethnographies in/of Academia” in S. Strid and L. Husu (eds.), Gender Paradoxes in Changing Academic and Scientific Organisation(s) (GEXcel Reports, Volume XVII), Örebro: University of Örebro.
- Pereira, Maria do Mar (2013), “Women’s and Gender Studies” in Mary Evans and Carolyn Williams (eds.), Gender: The Key Concepts, London: Routledge.
- Santos, Ana Cristina and Pereira, Maria do Mar (2013), The Policy on Gender Equality in Portugal, European Parliament: Brussels.
Maria do Mar is passionate about teaching, and is committed to emancipatory, student-centred and research-based education, inspired by critical and feminist pedagogies.
In the year 2017/18, Maria do Mar is teaching at Warwick on SO116: Sociology of Gender; SO249: Becoming Yourself: The Construction of the Self in Contemporary Western Societies; Producing Feminist Research: PhD and ECR Workshop; and IL902: Ways of Knowing: Gender, Bodies, Power. Her other modules (not running in 2017/2018) include SO9B0: Feminist Theory and Epistemology - Debates and Dilemmas.
She also regularly guest lectures on gender studies and feminist theory and epistemology at undergraduate and postgraduate level at universities in Portugal, Finland, Belgium, Croatia, the Netherlands, Germany and the UK.
In 2010, she was awarded an LSE Teaching Award, in recognition of excellence in postgraduate teaching. In 2013, she was awarded a Student Education Fellowship (USEF) and the Award for Most Inspirational Teaching of the Year, both at the University of Leeds.
As part of her USEF, Maria do Mar worked with three students (Anna Colgan, Eleanor Broadbent and Freya Potter) to create an innovative web-based platform providing resources and support on Using Archives to Teach Gender. You can read more about the project here.
She has also contributed to the design and teaching of international summer schools in gender studies, such as the European Union-funded intensive graduate programme “Practising Interdisciplinarity in European Gender Studies”, hosted by Radboud University – Nijmegen (2008). She has (co-)authored a series of conference papers and articles on these and other teaching initiatives (see list here).
Maria do Mar is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (HEA) and has been involved in pedagogical review and innovation internationally, having contributed to the drafting of the European Tuning Reference Points for the design and Delivery of Degree Programmes in Gender Studies (2010).
Maria do Mar has significant experience of undergraduate and postgraduate supervision on a range of topics in Sociology and Women’s and Gender Studies, and is passionate about research-based learning and supporting students and emerging scholars as they develop their own ideas and projects.
She is keen to work with doctoral candidates, visiting PhD students and visiting postdoctoral scholars studying gender, sexuality, science and technology studies, feminist theory and epistemology, feminist methodologies, ethnographic methods, youth and childhood, schools and higher education, feminist pedagogy, feminist movements and activism, and the institutionalisation of women’s and gender studies.
She is also able to provide supervision in Portuguese and expertise on Portuguese-speaking contexts (particularly Portugal and Brazil) to students and visiting scholars coming from, or working on, Lusophone (i.e. Portuguese-speaking) countries.
If you are interested in discussing PhD supervision, please get in touch with Maria do Mar via email on m dot d dot m dot pereira at warwick dot ac dot uk, sending details of your research interests and proposed topic of study.
Maria do Mar is currently supervising the following PhD projects:
- Liz Ablett (with Nickie Charles): "Practising politics and negotiating identities: Exploring (re)productions of, and challenges to, inequalities in English local politics"
- Sara Bamdad (with Caroline Wright): "The Everyday Life of Gender, Religion and Medicine: an Ethnography of an Infertility Treatment Clinic in Iran"
- Demet Gülçiçek (with Nickie Charles): "The constitution of the category of 'women' in women's magazines in the late Ottoman Empire"
- Sarah Handyside: Teenagers, gender and social media
Past PhD students include:
- Dr. Ruth Pearce (with Deborah Lynn Steinberg): "(Im)possible Patients? Negotiating discourses of trans health in the UK"
- Dr. Emma Beckett (with Deborah Lynn Steinberg): "Sub-cultural Paradoxes: Women Tattoo Artists Negotiating Gender, Capital, Labour and Resistance"
Media and Impact
Maria do Mar has been interviewed for Portuguese and UK print, radio and television media on a range of themes, including:
- gender inequality
- children and young people
- the negotiation of gender and sexuality in schools
- the representation of gender in the media
- feminist activism and social movements in Portugal and the UK
- the impacts of the financial crisis and of austerity policies on women and young people in Portugal and the UK
- the London riots of August 2011
For examples of these interviews, see BBC (online media, in English), TVI (television, in Portuguese), SIC (television, in Portuguese), Público (print media, in Portuguese), Expresso (print media, in Portuguese), Antena 1 (radio, in Portuguese), and Réforme (print media, in French).
She is also regularly invited to act as expert advisor to national and international bodies, including the European Parliament, the European Commission, the European Institute for Gender Equality, the Portuguese Parliament, and the Portuguese National Federation of Youth Associations. In 2017, she became an official Expert Advisor to the Portuguese Commission for Citizenship and Gender Equality.
Other Professional Activities
Maria do Mar is one of the editors of the journal Feminist Theory and sits on the International Advisory Board of the journal Etnográfica. She is also a member of the Executive Comittee of the Portuguese Women's Studies Association, and coordinates e-APEM, the association's network of students and early career scholars.
She is one of the founders and conveners of the “Sexuality and Gender” Thematic Section of the Portuguese Sociological Association, a co-founder and member of the Portuguese Interdisciplinary Gender Studies Centre (ISCSP - Universidade Técnica de Lisboa; Portugal), an associate researcher at the Women’s Studies Research Group (CEMRI - Universidade Aberta; Portugal), and a member of the Advisory Board of the Portuguese Feminist University.
Maria do Mar has been actively involved in several European Gender Studies networks, including GenderAct: Academic Cultures and Transformation in European Gender Studies (funded by the Swedish Riksbanken Jubileumsfonds), ATHENA: Advanced Thematic Network in European Gender Studies (funded by the European Commission) and Atgender.
She has presented over 100 papers at national and international conferences, and is regularly invited to act as a keynote speaker.
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“[Maria do Mar Pereira’s Doing Gender in the Playground] is a ground-breaking and pioneering book which will have a lasting impact in the fields [of sociology and gender studies]” (João Manuel de Oliveira, 2013)
Winner of the ICQI Award for Best Qualitative Book in Spanish/Portuguese (2014)