Gender is an organizing principle of society, shaping social structures, cultural understandings, processes of interaction, and identities in ways that have profound consequences. It affects every aspect of people's lives, from their intimate relationships to their participation in work, family, government, and other social institutions and their place in the stratification system. Yet gender is such a taken for granted basis for differences among people that it can be hard to see the underlying social structures and cultural forces that reinforce or weaken the social boundaries that define gender. Differences in behavior, power,and experience are often seen as the result of biological imperatives or of individual choice. A sociological view of gender, in contrast, emphasizes how gender is socially constructed and how structural constraints limit choice. This course examines how differences based on gender are created and sustained, with particular attention to how other important bases of personal identity and social inequality--race and class-interact with patterns of gender relations. We will also seek to understand how social change happens and how gender inequality might be reduced.
Society sector (all classes)
Section 050 - LEC