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The Social Life of Gender

The Social Life of Gender

Edited by:

December 2017 | 256 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc

The Social Life of Gender provides a comprehensive approach to gender as an organizing principle of institutions, history, and unequal interpersonal relations. This new title will develop students’ capacity to use gender analysis to question social life more broadly, presenting a critical sociology based on the unique insights gleaned from the study of gender. Through bold, concise, and intellectually generative writing, the authors explore culture, geopolitics, and the economy, providing students with a succinct, accessible, and critical grasp of core debates in the sociology of gender.


Dawn Dow, Katherine Mason
Katherine Maich, Gowri Vijayakumar
Author Biographies
Introduction: Conceptualizing Gender
Chapter 1: Power (Abigail Andrews)

The Gender Orders of Institutions

Gender Hegemonies

A History of Gender Hegemonies

The Ambiguities of "Progress"



Associated Readings

Chapter 2: Position (Abigail Andrews)

Thinking through Difference: Beyond Universality and Objectivity

Standpoint Theory: A Sociology for Women

From Thinking Gender to Thinking Difference

Beyond Binary Thinking

An Epistemology of Difference



Associated Readings

Chapter 3: Representation (Jennifer Carlson)

Emphasized Femininity

The Power of Images

Imperial Advertising and Commodity Fetishism

Gendered Advertising and the Growth of Industrial Capitalism in the U.S.

Norms of Neoliberalism

How Images Harm

Representing Hegemonic Masculinity

Marginalized Masculinities

Conclusion: Shifting Gendered Norms



Associated Readings

Chapter 4: Practice (Jennifer Carlson)

From Gender Identities to Gender Practices

Gender Accountability

Interrogating the Science of Sexual Difference

Embodiment: Bodies as the Effect of Gender

Doing/Undoing Gender and Sex



Associated Readings

Chapter 5: Gendering Sexuality (Oluwakemi M. Balogun & Kimberly Kay Hoang)

The Development of Human Sexuality as a Field of Inquiry

Early Feminist Interventions: Force versus Consent

Contemporary Debates around Sex Trafficking

The Politics of Sexual Rights: LGBTQ Rights Movement

From Sexuality to Sexualities: Power and Play

Doing Gender, Doing Sexuality

Sexualized Intersections: Sexuality, Race, Class, and Nation

Globalizing Sexualities



Associated Readings

Chapter 6: Gendering Crime and Justice (Jennifer Carlson)

From Violence against Women to Sexual Violence and Intimate Partner Violence

Rape Myths

The Social Construction of Victims and Criminals

The Paradox of Women's Violence: Blurring Victimhood and Criminality

The Gender Gap in Violence: Men and Masculinity

Gendering Justice

Undoing Violence, Recognizing Gender



Associated Readings

Chapter 7: Gendering Social Reproduction (Dawn Dow & Katherine Mason)

The Social Organization of Biological Reproduction: Historical and Global Perspectives

Adoption and Fosterage: Decoupling Biological Reproduction from Child-Rearing

Outsourcing Reproduction and Reproducing Inequality

Who is Responsible for Social Reproduction? Historical and Global Perspectives

What Does Reproductive Labor Entail?

Debating Reproductive Labor

The Stalled Revolution: Persisting Gender Differences in Reproductive Labor

The Mommy Wars and the "Opt-Out Revolution"

New Family Forms, New Forms of Social Reproduction? Legal and Technological Innovations




Associated Readings

Chapter 8: Gendering Exploitation (Abigail Andrews and Raka Ray)

Gender Norms and Inequities in Today's Workplace

Occupational Segregation by Sex

The Glass Ceiling and the Glass Escalator

Explaining Sex Segregation at Work

The Gender Wage Gap

Other Forms of Discrimination

Barriers to Union Organizing

Gendering Neoliberal Globalization

Gendered Migration and the Global Care Chain

The Global Factory and the New Feminine Worker

Microfinance, the “Responsible Woman,” and the Triple Burden of Public Service

Gender Transformations in the Informal Economy

Reconstructing Masculinities on the Margins

The End of Men? Or More Glass Ceiling?

Beyond the Gendered Economy



Associated Readings

Chapter 9: Politicizing Gender (Gowri Vijayakumar and Katherine Maich)

Rethinking the History of Feminism: Waves and Currents

Nineteenth and Early 20th-Century Gender Activism in the United States

Feminisms in the United States during the 1960s and 1970s

The 1980s and 1990s: Critiques of White Feminism, Queer Politics, and Transnational Solidarities

The 2000s and Beyond: Institutionalization, Backlash, and New Directions




Associated Readings

Chapter 10: Decolonizing Gender (Raka Ray)

Constructing the Global World Order

The Effects of Struggles around Decolonization

Colonial Positions and the Politics of Knowledge

The Geopolitical Construction of Gender

Contextualizing Our Concepts: Ideas Mediated by Culture




Associated Readings

Olawakemi Balogun, Kimberly Hoang


Instructor teaching site
SAGE Gender and Sexuality Resource Site is an open access site meant to enhance the teaching and learning environments in gender and sexuality courses. Video, podcast, and web links are provided for the following topic areas: 
  • Theories of Gender and Sexuality
  • Learning and "Doing Gender" 
  • Sexual Minorities
  • Sexual Violence and Commodification 
  • Crime, Social Control, and the Legal System 
  • Religion
  • Politics and Power
  • Families, Intimate Relationships, and Reproduction 
  • The Workplace
  • Health and Medicine
  • Education
  • Sports
  • Media and Popular Culture
  • Social Movements and Activism 
  • Gender and Sexuality Across Cultures
Key features


  • The text is driven by an interest in unequal relations of power and how gender informs and is reinforced in institutions and other large-scale historical processes.
  • Global perspectives are woven throughout book for today’s increasingly globalized students.
  • The book focuses on understanding not just gender but the social world through a gendered lens.
  • The practical application of theoretical themes shows specific arenas of life not necessarily considered “gendered" on the surface.


Sage College Publishing

You can purchase this book and request an instructor sample on our US College site:

Go To College Site

This title is also available on SAGE Knowledge, the ultimate social sciences online library. If your library doesn’t have access, ask your librarian to start a trial.