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Theorizing Gender: An Introduction

Theorizing Gender: An Introduction

Rachel Alsop, Annette Fitzsimons, Kathleen Lennon

ISBN: 978-0-745-61943-9

Jun 2002, Polity

288 pages

In Stock



This accessible text aims to give a theoretical overview of approaches to gender. The book discusses the major theories concerned with the ways in which we ‘become engendered', and explains and evaluates naturalist, psychoanalytic, materialist and post-structuralist accounts.

Tensions between these different approaches are acknowledged , but stark polarities are resisted. Throughout the book it is recognized that becoming gendered implicates and is implicated by other aspects of social becoming. The work of Judith Butler is discussed in detail and its importance and limitations spelt out in key chapters on sexuality, the body, transgendering and political agency. Debates between ‘queer' approaches to gender and those prioritizing sexual difference are also brought to the fore.

Theorizing Gender aims to provide a framework for weaving together what are often viewed as opposing directions of thought. Students and researchers in sociology, philosophy and gender studies, and all those with an interest in gender will find it an invaluable resource.



Chapter One : Natural Women and Men.

Chapter Two: Psychoanalysis and Gender.

Chapter Three: The Social Construction of Gender.

Chapter Four: Judith Butler; 'The Queen of Queer'.

Chapter Five: Gender and Sexuality.

Chapter Six: Theorising Men and Masculinities.

Chapter Seven: Bodily Imaginaries.

Chapter Eight: Sexual Difference.

Chapter Nine: Borderlands and Gendered Homes.

Chapter Ten: Gender and the Politics of Identity.




"Theorizing Gender is an overview of the important debates to take place in gender since we began theorizing it. It is not only a trustworthy introduction for students but in its impartial approach and lucid prose it is also an exemplary contribution to these debates." Dr Jay Prosser, School of English, University of Leeds

"This is a valuable and refreshingly clear exploration of some of the most discussed issues in feminist theory and philosophy, such as theories of gender and male domination, identity politics, subjectivity and agency, the relation between gender and sexuality, and the equality/difference debate. Especially valuable is the clear account of authors who discuss psychoanalytic theory, such as Judith Butler, Lacan and Foucault. The authors make an important contribution to gender studies with their new conceptualization of the bodily imaginary, as a way to bridge the gap between gender theory and sexual difference theory." Ann Ferguson, Professor of Philosophy and Women's Studies, University of Massachusetts at Amherst

  • A clear, accessible overview of the key approaches in gender theory

  • Includes detailed discussion of key figures such as Judith Butler

  • Highlights recent debates on 'queer' accounts of gender

  • Provides a framework for weaving together what are often viewed as opposing directions of thought