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Gender In World Perspective von Connell, Raewyn W. (eBook)

  • Erscheinungsdatum: 10.12.2014
  • Verlag: Polity
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How can we understand gender in the contemporary world? What psychological differences now exist between women and men? How are masculinities and femininities made? And what is the relationship between gender issues and globalizing concerns such as environmental change and economic restructuring? Raewyn Connell, one of the world's leading scholars in the field, is here joined by Rebecca Pearse as they answer these questions and more. Their book provides a readable introduction to modern gender studies, covering empirical research from all parts of the world in addition to theory and politics. As well as introducing the field, Gender provides a powerful contemporary framework for gender analysis with a strong and distinctive global awareness. Highlighting the multi-dimensional character of gender relations, the authors show how to link personal life with large-scale organizational structures and how gender politics changes its form in changing situations. The third edition of this influential and accessible book includes a whole new chapter on ecofeminism, environmental justice and sustainability. It also brings the review of research up to date throughout and explains new debates and emerging gender theories. Gender is engaged scholarship that moves from personal experience to global problems and offers a unique perspective on gender issues today. Raewyn Connell is University Professor at University of Sydney. She is an internationally renowned researcher in the field of sex and gender; her previous publications include Masculinities , Gender and Power , Making the Difference , and Southern Theory . Rebecca Pearse is Research Assistant at the University of Sydney.


    Format: ePUB
    Kopierschutz: AdobeDRM
    Seitenzahl: 192
    Erscheinungsdatum: 10.12.2014
    Sprache: Englisch
    ISBN: 9780745687322
    Verlag: Polity
    Größe: 432 kBytes
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Gender research: five examples

Often a complex problem is best approached through specifics, and the results of research are best understood by looking at the actual research projects. In this chapter we discuss five notable studies of gender issues published in recent decades. They come from five continents. Three focus on everyday life in local settings - a school, a workplace, a community, a personal life. One deals with gender change in a great historical transition, and another with gender issues in the environment. Though they deal with very different questions, they reveal some of the main concerns of gender research in general.
Case 1: The play of gender in school life

One of the most difficult tasks in social research is to take a situation that everyone thinks they understand, and illuminate it in new ways. This is what the US ethnographer Barrie Thorne achieves in her subtly observed and highly readable book about school life, Gender Play (1993).

At the time Thorne started her work, children were not much discussed in gender research. When they were mentioned, the usual assumption was that they were being 'socialized' into gender roles, in a top-down transmission from the adult world. It was assumed that there are two sex roles, a male one and a female one, with boys and girls getting separately inducted into the norms and expectations of the appropriate role. This idea was based on a certain amount of research using paper-and-pencil questionnaires, but not on much actual observation of children's lives.

Thorne did that observation. Her book is based on fieldwork in two elementary (primary) schools in different parts of the United States. She spent eight months in one, three months in another, hanging about in classrooms, hallways and playgrounds, talking to everyone and watching the way the children interacted with each other and with their teachers in work and play.

Ethnography as a method sounds easy, but in practice is hard to do well. Part of the problem is the mass of information an observer can get from just a single day 'in the field'. You need to know what you are looking for. But you also need to be open to new experiences and new information, able to see things that you did not expect to see.

As an observer, Thorne was certainly interested in transmission from older people, in the ways children pick up the details of how to do gender. Her funniest (and perhaps also saddest) chapter is called 'Lip Gloss and "Goin' With"', about how pre-adolescent children learn the techniques of teenage flirting and dating. She was also interested in the differences between the girls' and the boys' informal interactions - the games they played, spaces they used, words they spoke, and so on.

But Thorne was able to see beyond the patterns described in conventional gender models. She became aware of how much these models predisposed an observer to look for difference. She began to pay attention not only to the moments in school life when the boys and girls separated, but also to the moments when they came together. She began to think of gender difference as situational , as created in some situations and ignored or overridden in others. Even in recess-time games, where the girls and boys were usually clustered in separate parts of the playground, they sometimes moved into mixed activities without any emphasis on difference. There were many 'relaxed cross-sex interactions' in the school's daily routine. Clearly, the boys and girls were not permanently in separate spheres, nor permanently enacting opposite 'sex roles'.

Recognizing this fact opened up a number of other issues. What were the situations where gender was emphasized or de-emphasized? Thorne noticed that, though teachers sometimes emphasized gender - for instance, arranging a classroom learning game with the girls competing against the boys - most te

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