Is gender something done to us by society, or something we do? What is the relationship between gender and other inequalities?
What is Gender? explores these complex and important questions, helping readers to critically analyze how women's and men's lives are shaped by the society in which they live. The book offers a comprehensive account of trends in sociological thinking, from a material and economic focus on gender inequalities to the debates about meaning initiated by the linguistic or cultural turn.
The book begins by questioning simplistic biological conceptions of gender and goes on to evaluate different theoretical frameworks for explaining gender, as well as political approaches to gender issues. The cultural turn is also examined in relation to thinking about how gender is related to other forms of inequality such as class and 'race'. The book is up-to-date and broad in its scope, drawing on a range of disciplines, such as: sociology, psychoanalysis, masculinity studies, literary criticism, feminist political theory, feminist philosophy and feminist theory.