Gender is to be regarded as a powerful social construction, which is based upon fundamental beliefs of everyday life and is reproduced in social interaction.
In a social constructivist perspective, the sociologically relevant issues for further analysis therefore are the ways in which gender is done – i.e. the process of differentiation, which produces (hierarchical) differences. This includes institutionalized ways of doing gender (professions and career structures, structures of participation defined by formal equity, but informal barriers), policies, but also micro-social processes of gendering agency in all kinds of social interactions.
As a social category, gender seemed to share the same fate as the categories of social class and race: Especially in youth transitions, the former master status of these categories became highly contended issues. However, the question has been raised if late modern conditions only blur still existing social inequalities, and may modernize gender hierarchies, but not abolish them. (BS)
Goffman, Erving (1977) The Arrangement between the Sexes, in: Theory&Society 4, 301-331.
Lorber, Judith (1994) Paradoxes of Gender. New Haven (CT).
West, Candace & Zimmerman, Don (1987) Doing gender, in: Gender and Society, 1: 125-151.
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