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Gender Development Research Centre


Ellen Robertson, PhD candidate in the GDRC, presented a talk on her research 'Social representations of women who live as men in northern Albania' as part of the Social and Developmental Psychology seminar series.

In rural, northern Albania there is a tradition whereby a woman may choose to live as a man. In doing so this “burrneshe” adopts male-typical dress, work, social roles, habits, and even speech and body language. Although gender transgression in other contexts (e.g., LGBT ) is generally viewed negatively in Albanian society, burrnesha are highly esteemed. My Mphil and PhD research uses qualitative analyses of interview data to explore the social representations of burrnesha held by burrnesha themselves and by their surrounding communities. I am particularly interested in the way that their representations are actively positioned within the wider network of Albanian values, and how this positioning leads to unique treatment and attitudes toward them in their communities. In order to understand this, I will: 1) compare representations of burrnesha in three distinct regions of Albania, 2) analyze the specific role of male appearance in their representations, and 3) explore how their representations are changing with time in response to a dynamic political-economic landscape.

Latest news

Members of the GDRC attend workshop on 'Sex Differences, Dimorphisms and Divergences' in Erice, Sicily

10 June 2019

Prof Melissa Hines, Dr Debra Spencer, Prof Marcia Collaer and Dr Vickie Pasterski of the GDRC attended the workshop in May 2019, and Prof Hines gave a presentation on 'Human Gender Development'.

Ellen Robertson's talk at University of Marin Barleti, Albania

25 March 2019

Ellen Robertson gave a talk at the University of Marin Barleti, Albania, entitled 'Social Representations and the Sworn Virgins of Northern Albania', reflecting her PhD interests. More information on this topic can be found in a reference entry Ellen wrote for UCL's Encyclopedia of Informality.

Presentation by Ellen Robertson at Cambridge Interdisciplinary Performance Network (CIPN)

15 November 2018

Ellen Robertson, PhD candidate in the GDRC, will be giving a seminar entitled 'Dressing the Self/Other in Greek Drama, Italian Opera and Rural Albania' as part of the Cambridge Interdisciplinary Performance Network (CIPN) Series (CIPN) fortnightly Tuesday seminar series on Tuesday 27 November 2018.

Welcome to Professor Marcia Collaer

6 November 2018

The GDRC is very pleased to welcome Prof Marcia Collaer to Cambridge! Marcia is Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience Affiliate at Middlebury College, VT, USA. She is currently a Visiting Scholar in the GDRC, Department of Psychology and Overseas Fellow at Churchill College for 2018-19.

Group members at Gender Development Research Conference, San Francisco

1 November 2018

Prof Melissa Hines, Dr Debra Spencer and PhD candidate Marta Beneda went to the Gender Development Research Conference, San Francisco. This event is held every two years in San Francisco and hosts many of the world’s leading researchers of gender development from interdisciplinary fields. Prof Hines gave a talk and the group also presented two posters.