GRK Doing Transitions
IKB-building, 4th floor
Eschersheimer Landstraße 121
60322 Frankfurt am Main
IKB-Gebäude, Postfach 3
60323 Frankfurt am Main
Lio Okroi studied political science at the LMU Munich and sociology at the University of Freiburg. In their master’s thesis, they analysed contested memories and identity formations in relation to lesbians in the Ravensbrück concentration camp. Their research focuses on queer theory, gender studies, sociology of body and affect, cultures of memory as well as discourse-analytical and reconstructive methods.
PhD project: Fluid Transitions
In their sociological doctoral project, Lio Okroi focuses on the topic of sexual and gender fluidity. The label genderfluid describes people whose gender identity changes over time. Depending on the person, this can mean transitions between all possible genders and gendered expressions. People whose desire and/or romantic interest turns to different genders over time can be described as sexually fluid.
Through narrative interviews, Lio Okroi’s doctoral dissertation works out, firstly, how gender- and/or sexually fluid persons produce and experience their transitions. Thereby, the project contributes to a reflexive and critical approach in transition research. Fluid transitions constitute a form of transitional deviance that differs from normal biographies and typical coming-out stories. Gender and sexually fluid persons tend to make transitions more frequently, at different times and in different ways than socially expected. Besides, fluid transitions cannot be understood in binary terms of starting point/finishing point or success/failure. Their exploration and theorisation therefore enables a queer, processual and fluidifying perspective on transition processes of all kinds.
Secondly, Lio Okroi is interested in historically developed discourses around the fluidity or stability of gender and sexual orientation. How are these discourses related to broader social changes? To what extent and in what ways is it currently possible to live – and to speak about – fluidity? Which identity categories are available to whom, which norms and narratives are imposed? How do subjects emerge and change – be it through appropriation, modification or rejection of certain subject positions? And to what extent are fluid persons socially recognised as intelligible subjects at all? With this approach, Lio Okroi ties in with research field of subjectification analysis, which examines the ambivalent interplay of subjugation and empowerment in the process of becoming a subject.
Thirdly, supported by body conceptions in queer and trans studies as well as by the method of body mapping, Lio Okroi focuses on the material dimension of fluid transitions. They reconstruct which body images, -practices and -modifications play a role in processes of transition and subjectivation. They are also interested in affects, such as joy, shame, body dysphoria and euphoria, fear, and curiosity. From their perspective, (fluid) subjects are not immaterial and abstract entities, but rather feeling, desiring, vulnerable bodies of flesh and blood, which become and change in relation to their discursive and material environment. Overall, Lio Okroi’s PhD project aims to question the prevailing notion – in society as a whole, but also in the social sciences as well as in queer communities – of the universally applicable stability of a person’s gender and sexual identity.
- Okroi, Lio (2023). Queering History? Spannungsfelder des Erinnerns im Audioguide ‚Queere Geschichte*n Freiburg‘. Invertito – Jahrbuch für die Geschiche der Homosexualitäten 24.
- The audioguide Queere Geschichte*n Freiburg, which Okroi developed as part of their master’s degree, tells 27 historical and current stories about queer people, topics, events, controversies, scenes and places in Freiburg. It was awarded the Bertha Ottenstein Prize of the University of Freiburg.
- Okroi, Lio (2021). Queere Geschichte*n Freiburg – Spannungsfelder des Erinnerns im Audioguide. Lecture at the annual conference of the Fachverband Homosexualität und Geschichte e.V., 1-3 October 2021, Frankfurt a. M.
- Okroi, Lio (2023). Contested Identities in the Memorialization of Lesbians in the Ravensbrück Concentration Camp. Lecture for the ‘Cambridge German-History Research Group’ as part of a series on ‘Gender in German History’, Cambridge University, 2 June 2023, London.
- Deutsche Gesellschaft für Soziologie (DSG, German Sociological Association), Sektion Frauen- und Geschlechterforschung (Section Women’s and Gender Studies)
- Gewerkschaft Erziehung und Wissenschaft (GEW, Trade Union for Education and Science)