UNT SOCI 4250 - Ch 2 (29 pages)

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Ch 2



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Ch 2

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Pages:
29
School:
University of North Texas
Course:
Soci 4250 - Gender and Society
Unformatted text preview:

Chapter Two What s the Sociology in the Sociology of Gender Why do you need theory to understand gender Theory is central to sociological analysis People often have a working theory in their own mind about social phenomena including gender For instance you ve probably already formed an explanation about why people say that s what boys do or that s what girls do Sociological theory enables us to think more formally and self critically about how we interpret the world around us Questioning Gender A Sociological Exploration by Robyn Ryle 2012 Pine Forge Press So what is theory Theory is a set of statements and propositions that seek to explain or predict a particular aspect of social life They may be tested and verified experimentally Concepts abstract ideas Questioning Gender A Sociological Exploration by Robyn Ryle 2012 Pine Forge Press what is theory Why it s important to learn theories We may never have tested or investigated those theories in rigorous ways Theories about gender help Theories help us to figure out if our own perceptions and experiences about gender can truly be trusted Questioning Gender A Sociological Exploration by Robyn Ryle 2012 Pine Forge Press what is theory Help us get over our predefined concepts Confirmation bias is a tendency to look for information that confirms our preexisting beliefs while ignoring information that contradicts those beliefs Confirmation bias suggests that our own working theories of gender can serve as blinders preventing us from seeing and considering certain gendered phenomena in our lives Example A Sociological Exploration by Robyn Ryle 2012 Pine Forge Press Questioning Gender Gender in Sociology Like many traditional academic disciplines Sociology was developed primarily by white upper class European presumably heterosexual men Two main problems in early sociology of gender Men served as a proxy for all human beings Uncritical assumption and reinforcement of a certain gender status quo that confined women to the private sphere of the home Questioning Gender A Sociological Exploration by Robyn Ryle 2012 Pine Forge Press Gender in Sociology Power and Privilege Why male sociologists did not seriously consider gender Male sociologists had power and were privileged by their gender therefore they didn t have to spend a lot of time thinking about it Privilege is a set of mostly unearned rewards and benefits that come with a given status position in society Privilege can take the form of actual rewards Privilege in fact is one of the reasons we need to be cautious in trusting the reality and objectivity of our own views about gender and it is Questioning Gender A Sociological Exploration by Robyn Ryle 2012 Pine Forge Press therefore another reason learning gender theories can be useful Feminism Three waves of feminism 1st wave coincided with the suffrage movement and focused on women s right to vote 2nd wave developed during the 60s and is most commonly associated with bra burners and society s view of what feminism is 3rd wave emerged during the 80s and 90s and really focused more attention to race and sexual orientation Important outcome there is no universal experience of being a man or a woman Questioning Gender A Sociological Exploration by Robyn Ryle 2012 Pine Forge Press Questions to ask about theories How does the particular type of feminism explain the origins of inequality between men and women What methods does the theory suggest are best suited to correcting or reducing inequality These questions can be used to analyze feminist theories but also all gender theories Questioning Gender A Sociological Exploration by Robyn Ryle 2012 Pine Forge Press Liberal Feminism This theory says that inequality between men and women is rooted in the way existing institutions such as government treat men and women Claims are grounded in a set of basic human rights Liberal feminism is a part of a larger social movement master frame of equal rights Assumption Questioning Gender A Sociological Exploration by Robyn Ryle 2012 Pine Forge Press Radical Feminism Primarily associated with 2nd and 3rd wave Starts with the premise that women and men are fundamentally different Sources treatment as a sex class early socialization Ex Gender serves as an integral tool for distributing power and resources among groups and people Inequality is not solely a result Questioning Gender A Sociological Exploration by Robyn Ryle 2012 Pine Forge Press Radical Feminism According to a radical feminist the solutions to decrease gender inequality To bring fundamental changes to the basic structure of society are necessary A world in which women are no longer subordinate to men and this requires revolutionary changes to the current social order Consciousness raising activities These activities are at the core of the popular feminist Questioning Gender slogan A Sociological Exploration by Robyn Ryle 2012 Pine Forge Press Men and Feminism Some men have always been involved in women s movements though the majority are still women Feminists argue in various forms that a society with more gender equality is a society that is good for everyone men and women Increasingly more sociological studies are looking at men Questioning Gender A Sociological Exploration by Robyn Ryle 2012 Pine Forge Press Sociological Theories of Gender Feminism helped place gender as a topic in Sociology Central question of feminists What causes gender inequality Sociologists have a slightly different focus What is gender and how does it work in society While both are concerned with understanding gender o Feminists are concerned with the goal of reducing gender inequality o Sociologists are more interested in the more objective goal of explaining gender and how it works Questioning Gender A Sociological Exploration by Robyn Ryle 2012 Pine Forge Press Gender and the Sociological Imagination C Wright Mills Sociological Imagination Examine intersection of historical macro and biographical micro factors Analyze linkages between structural forces and individual experiences Private troubles milieux or the problems we face that have to do with ourselves and immediate surroundings Public issues exist beyond the individual and her own milieu located within the larger structures of society Questioning Gender A Sociological Exploration by Robyn Ryle 2012 Pine Forge Press Questions to ask about theories How do these theories define gender Where does the theory locate gender Individual Interaction between people


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