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Barbara Risman (University of Illinois at Chicago)

23 June 2016 @ 14:00


  • Past event


23 June 2016
Event Category:

“From Sex Roles to Gender Structure: Understanding Inequality for Social Change”

at Campus Einaudi (CLE), Dept of Cultures, politics and society, 3rd floor, room D233


This talk has three  major goals.  First, I provide a succinct intellectual history of research and theorizing about gender in the social sciences in the 20th Century until today.  I do this to provide a baseline for the introduction of  my argument that gender is a social structure.  Second, I propose a theoretical framework for conceptualizing gender as a structure of social stratification. My theoretical argument directs  attention to three distinct levels of analysis: the individual, the interactional, and the macro,  as well as the causal and recursive relationships between them.  At the individual level of analysis,  attention is focused on the development and internalization of  sex difference.   At the interactional, attention is focused on the  stability and changing expectations we hold for each sex during social interaction. At the macro level, attention is directed to the  mechanisms by which gender is embedded into the cultural logic and accompanying rules of social institutions and organizations. My theoretical work has been revised to  differentiate between  the material organization of social life and the cultural logic within each level of analysis. My third and final goal is to illustrate the usefulness of my theoretical  framework  for empirical research and policy applications with reference both to my own empirical work and with the work of  others. I conclude with an argument that conceptualizing gender as a social structure will facilitate more effective policies  designed to promote gender equality.