Perceiving Gender Locally, Globally, and Intersectionally: Volume 13


Table of contents

(17 chapters)
Content available

List of contributors

Pages vii-viii
Content available


Purpose and approach – This chapter by the editors introduces the concepts that feature most prominently in the volume and relates the contributed chapters to one another in terms of concepts, themes, and methods.

Research implications – The viability of the concept of intersectionality and its applicability to a wide range of local and global questions raised by feminist scholars as well as the fruitfulness of applying the concept in studies employing a wide range of the methodologies currently used in the social sciences and humanities is demonstrated. Attention is called to the need to study violence, including symbolic violence, more fully and to pay attention to paradoxical findings.

Value of chapter – This chapter serves to guide the reader through the volume calling attention to key findings and methodological issues.

Purpose – This chapter reflects on the interpretation and effects of the term intersectionality within the academy and across a broad spectrum of institutional and grassroots environments in which it is operationalized and deployed.

Design/methodology/approach – Based on the authors’ experiences within the academy and their respective participation as researchers and organizers within feminist, queer, and racial and economic justice movements, the chapter surveys the rhetorical, political, and organizational uses of intersectionality across these realms.

Findings – Five general challenges to intersectional practice are identified and described: misidentification, appropriation, institutionalization, reification, and operationalization. The authors trace these challenges across the academy, grassroots movements, and nonprofit organizations.

Originality/value – Offers a new articulation of intersectional practice as the application of scholarly or social movement methodologies aimed at intersectional and sustainable social justice outcomes.

Purpose – This chapter responds to interdisciplinary debates regarding studies of sex, sexuality, and gender. I briefly examine how the sex/gender paradigm of the 1960s shaped feminist theory in the social sciences and explore two feminist frameworks that have contested the sex/gender paradigm: West and Zimmerman's “doing gender” and Butler's performativity. I situate this literature, and related debates about intersectionality, in the context of Margaret Andersen's (2005) Sociologists for Women in Society (SWS) feminist lecture.

Methodology/approach – Using empirical analyses of brief television excerpts, I develop an ethnomethodological study of practice and poststructural analysis of discourse to demonstrate how trenchant forms of cultural knowledge link together gender, sex, and sexuality.

Findings – Sex and gender function as disciplinary forces in the service of heterosexuality; consequently studies of gender that do not account for sexuality reproduce heterosexism and marginalize queer sexualities. These findings, considered in relationship to Andersen's analysis of intersectionality, illustrate both a narrow conceptualization of the field rooted to a 19th century European model and a methodological mandate that must be examined in relationship to the politics of social research.

Practical implications – A more fruitful conceptual starting point in thinking through intersectionality may be citizenship, rather than systematic exploitation of wage labor. In addition, a more full analysis of intersectionality would also require that we rethink our methodological orientations.

Originality/value of paper – The chapter illustrates some of the analytic effects and political consequences that commonsense knowledge about gender, sex, and sexuality holds for feminist scholarship and advances alternative possibilities for future feminist research.

Purpose – The purpose of this chapter is to trace the history of the cultural myth that children, especially boys, experience an abrupt heterosexual awakening during pubescence, from its origin during the 1950s to the present, with particular attention to a decrease in the age posited for such an awakening, from fourteen or fifteen to eight or nine or even earlier, until finally children are presented as heterosexually desiring from birth.

Methodology – The methodology is a content analysis of a sample of mass media texts starring or featuring prepubescent or pubescent boys, including films, television programs, comic books, comic strips, and juvenile novels, appearing in the United States between 1950 and 2007.

Findings – The rapid decrease in the age is correlated with an increased visibility of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) adolescents, leading to the conclusion that it results from an attempt to privilege heterosexuality by making it appear a natural, inevitable outcome of biological maturation that is absent until puberty, whereas at the same time addressing homophobic insistence that no juvenile character be presented as gay by ensuring all characters, regardless of age, express heterosexual desire.

Research limitations/implications – The study is limited to a single causal factor, but it illustrates a complex cultural phenomenon, a shift in the way childhood is constructed, so there are doubtless other factors that should be explored. It is also necessary to explore why the change from presumed pubescent heterosexual awakening to presumed constitutional heterosexuality occurred at different rates depending on the race and social class of the character and the medium presented.

Purpose – This study examines the relationship between endorsement of positive stereotypes of women and support for women's rights to shed light on the role that endorsement of positive stereotypes may play in maintaining social stratification.

Design/methodology/approach – The study uses data collected from a web-based survey of 181 male undergraduate students in six different universities and colleges to examine the relationship between the endorsement of positive stereotypes of women and support for women's rights. The paper examines four ordinary least squares (OLS) regression models to determine the relationship and utilizes the statistical software Stata 9.2.

Findings – Rather than a simple direct relationship, the findings suggest that the relationship between the endorsement of positive stereotypes and support for women's rights varies based on the level of hostile sexism. Increased endorsement of positive stereotypes of women was associated with decreased support for women's rights among males with the lowest level of hostile sexism, but the opposite relationship was found for males at the mean and the highest level of hostile sexism.

Research limitations/implications – The findings suggest that endorsement of positive stereotypes plays a unique role for males who do not endorse traditional sexist attitudes. Although data are not available to clarify what processes might be undergirding the relationship, the author suggests directions for future research.

Practical implications – Given the relationship found, prejudice reduction interventions that rely on the promotion of positive stereotypes of various social groups should be closely examined to determine if they actually foster attitudes that are detrimental for the eradication of social stratification.

Originality/value – This study is one of the first to examine the possible negative impacts of endorsement of positive stereotypes of women on gender stratification through a moderated relationship with levels of hostile sexism.

Purpose – This research is an analysis of expressions of masculinity among members of two social movements. The focus of the study is how racialized constructions of masculinity shape similar discourses of victimization in the mythopoetic men's movement and the Militia of Montana.

Method – Content analysis of the movement members’ written work available to the general public is analyzed. A theoretical overview of masculinity and victimization is also utilized to illustrate essentialist narratives in masculinity.

Findings – This research raises questions about the lived experience of the racialization of masculinity in movements, the complexity of identity formation of movement members, and challenges assumptions about the limitations of essentialism in these types of social movements. Both movements employ language that explicitly and implicitly illustrate a perception of white male victimization. Attention to essentialism in each movement shows the contradictions of each movement, with attention to how movement members choose to construct their own identities.

Research limitations – This research is limited to the written words of some movement members from material generated by each movement, and therefore, this research does not contain interview narratives of the movement members.

Originality/value of chapter – Previous research has faulted each movement for essentialist notions of self and group. This work argues that group cohesion and success of these types of movements depends on the ability of members to create essentialist categories of masculinity to support their claims and interests.

Purpose – The main objective of this research is to explore the impacts of globalization on gender empowerment.

Methodology – This research uses a design that combines lagged cross-sectional and cross-sectional analyses. We have used ordinary least square regression. The sample size for this research is 48–70 nation-states. We have used gender empowerment measurement as an indicator of decision-making power that women in a society gain in decision making as a group.

Findings – Our findings illustrate variable effects of global economy on gender empowerment. Higher commodity concentration significantly lowers women's access to the formal and informal labor force and women's decision-making power after controlling for economic development, culture, and state's location in the global economy. Foreign direct investment lowers women's share in both the formal and informal labor force and women's decision-making power, while increasing women's share of secondary education. Thus, this research examines wider dimensions of women's experiences. We also find that some policies have positive effects, whereas others have negative effects on gender empowerment.

Originality/value of the chapter – Previous research on globalization and development has discussed the impacts of globalization on women's empowerment. However, researchers have either used women's access to formal work or education or gender development scores as an indicator of women's empowerment. Researchers have not captured women's empowerment completely. We have overcome this limitation by defining empowerment as a complex of access to resources (access to education, formal and informal labor force) and decision-making power (gender empowerment scores).

Purpose – The burgeoning literature on gender and immigration has largely abandoned atavistic conceptualizations of gender. Instead, migration scholars have integrated an understanding of gender that is relational, contextual, and mutually constitutive with migration. Most of this research has focused on the ways in which migration shapes gender relations, with much less focus on the ways in which gender relations contribute to migration flows. Additionally, the integration of gender analysis in migration studies has contributed significantly to our understanding of migration but has not informed gender theory to nearly the same extent. In this chapter, we synthesize the extant literature on gender and migration, as it relates to the dynamics that precipitate migration.

Methodology/approach – We conducted a review and synthesis of the extant literature that examines the relationship between gender and the decisions and opportunities to migrate.

Findings – Through this synthesis, we identified four gendered institutions that precipitate migration: (1) global labor markets, (2) family and care work, (3) social networks, and (4) violence.

Practical implications – We contribute to the development of gender theory by examining the structural dimensions of gender, thus illuminating the connections between gender relations operating at macro and micro levels.

Originality/value of paper – Although other scholars have reviewed the literature on gender and migration, previous reviews (and most empirical studies) have focused on how migration has shaped gender relations. No reviews to date have focused on how gender relations shape migration. Additionally, most scholars fail to recognize the relationship of gendered violence to other precipitates of migration.

Purpose – To analyze the factors constraining and enabling political activism and associational life among women in a large metropolitan area in Brazil.

Methodology – Our survey drew a probability sample of the Belo Horizonte Metropolitan Area population, and conducted 1,122 face-to-face interviews in 2005.

Findings – Against conventional wisdom, our data showed that women's propensity to participate in associations and engage in political activism was significantly greater than men's. Strikingly, this was the case not just for the more plausible civic activism but for protest activism as well.

Implications/limitations – Although our findings can be seen as consistent with an international trend of a “rising tide” of women's political participation, they are still remarkable in any current comparative approach – especially for women in an emergent country. They invite further analysis to better understand what is being measured and to allow for more informed interpretations. A countrywide survey is needed to verify the extent to which women in our metropolitan area study are representative of Brazilian women.

Originality/value – The theoretical model we drew on from some of the most important studies in the field of political inequality did not predict and did not explain the differences we found in participation between genders. In the analysis of our unexpected empirical findings we argue that public action can be seen as relating to women's family roles. We show evidence of the ways women's position in the private sphere can constrain as well as enable women's presence in the public sphere.

Purpose – This chapter addresses the interconnections between the development of feminism and the role of the nation-state, with particular reference to Canada. The general trajectory of Canadian feminism has much in common with the rest of the world, but it also has unique features that relate to Canada's proximity to the United States and to its lingering ties to the European colonial powers of Britain and France.

Approach – I cover the emergence and development of feminism in the academy in the context of Canadian political structures in two time periods; the period from the 1960s to the 1980s, which I see as a period of growth and promise, and the period of setbacks and challenges from the 1980s to the present.

Findings – Despite the setbacks, the challenges that confront feminism today, both nationally and globally, present opportunities to advance the goal of gender equity that has historically energized feminist actions in all arenas of social life.

Value of the chapter – The chapter contributes to the historical archives dealing with feminist activity in Canada in the second half of the 20th century.

Purpose – Using sexual harassment in Japan as a case, this research illustrates how local gender culture, particularly sexual harassment consciousness, has changed since initial local legal reform.

Design/methodology/approach – The historical analysis draws on national newspaper reporting of a fairly new concept of sexual harassment into a local society.

Findings – My findings suggest that Japanese actively engaged in, rather than rejected, the new social issue; their active response gave rise to social consciousness toward sekuhara especially and sex discrimination more generally. Broader and more inclusive definitions of sexual harassment appeared in Japan than the original international legal definitions. Local–international interactions effectively shaped such outcomes.

Originality/value – This is the first qualitative and quantitative analysis of the media's portrayals of sexual harassment in Japan.

Rifat Akhter is an assistant professor of Sociology at the University of Central Arkansas. Her research interests are globalization, gender, violence against women, and health. She obtained her Masters in Medical Demography from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and PhD in Sociology from Southern Illinois University, Carbondale. Her current research explores the impacts of the global economy and gender empowerment on domestic violence against women.

Publication date
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Advances in Gender Research
Series copyright holder
Emerald Publishing Limited
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