5) (a) Why do Sociologists draw a distinction between sex and gender? Within this essay I aim to determine the main reasons why sociologists identify a discrepancy between the two key concepts; sex and gender. To begin this argument, the discrepancy between the terms sex and gender was first proposed by feminist sociologists in the 1970's (e.g. Stoller, 1968; Oakley, 1972), whereby many it was perceived as a conceptual breakthrough. This vital distinction has allowed sociologists to embrace gender, enabling them to emphasize the social over the biological. For instance, when we consider how males and females differentiate, 'sex' is normally the first thing to come to mind. Traditionally 'sex' is seen as a universal term based on nature. It is perceived as a biological entity, whereby its biological characteristics define humans as either male (XY) or female (XX). Such anatomical characteristics are typically taken to have the following six components; chromosome make-up, external genitals, internal genitals, hormonal states and secondary sex characteristics. The addition of all of these qualities forms the basis of which sex category most people fall under; female or male (Dr Robert Stoller, 1984: 158-159).
On the other hand, a cross-cultural study carried out by Margaret Mead has illustrated that gender is in fact separate from our biological sex. Margaret Mead studied three tribes of New Guinea; the Arapesh, Mundugumor and Tchambuli. Mead's findings showed that each tribe varied extensively in terms of their attitudes and behaviour. For instance, both Mundugumor males and females were found to be typically selfish and aggressive (what our culture would refer to as 'masculine') whereas in the Arapesh males and females were both reported as cooperative and sensitive to others around them (what our culture would label 'feminine'). These results would therefore imply that there is no universal masculine or feminine personality, thus supporting Oakley's claim that gender is a social fact constructed by the culture around us and, as a consequence, unrelated to our biological sex. A further reason for the distinction between sex and gender has been argued by feminist sociologists, who have claimed that when sex and gender are interchangeable it is easily argued that certain experiences are an inevitable consequence of being male or female. This eventually leads to sexism (normally in relation to women rather than men).
The essays in this section serve as entry points into the ongoing and interdisciplinary conversation about how people, place, and space are produced, perceived, and experienced. The authors share a common starting point: space and place are not fixed or innate but rather created and re-created through the actions and meanings of people. This critical understanding of space and place confirms our agency and responsibility in producing these spaces, as well as the social relations that are enabled through this approach. Gathering perspectives from sociology, geography, psychology, architecture, history, and anthropology encourages different approaches to uncovering underlying assumptions about people, place, and space. The writings examine these relationships in fresh ways and from radically different vantage points, gaining insights from varied methods and interpretations, and to enact new meanings and purposeful change.
Working with the aspect of growing roles, the mere fact that male and females distinctively have their own set of roles, will reflect on their reproduction of children. Gender role theories noted by leading sociologist and psychologist suggest, That an individuals attention and behavior are guided by an internal motivation to confirm to gender-biased sociocultural standards and stereotypes ( Halonen and Stantrock, p. 184). This occurs in children as young as one year of age, in which boys wear blue and are offered masculine toys, and girls are dressed in pink, and are adorned with feminine toys. Which is believed that aggressive behavior is socially accepted with males, and a more passive approach is use with females. These roles of masculinity and femininity are a factor of sex-role learning that begins during early childhood (Davidson and Neale, p. 237). A survey conducted by the graduate students of the sociology and gender class found that 70% of those surveyed listed their parents as a primary source for learning about sex and gender. This concludes how there is no doubt why male and female gender roles are learned at such an early age.
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is professor of sociology and gender studies at Columbia University, where she has served as the inaugural Dean of Social Science and Director of the Institute for Research on Women, Gender, and Sexuality. She is and chair of the American Sociological Association Section on Science, Knowledge, and Technology. Prior to joining Columbia in 2009, Nelson was on the faculty of Yale University, where she received the Poorvu Award for interdisciplinary teaching excellence.
Nelson is also the author of (University of Minnesota Press, 2011), which was recognized with , including the from the Eastern Sociological Society and the from the American Sociological Association Section on Race, Gender and Class. , Body and Soul is the first book-length exploration of the radical organization’s health-focused activities and has been translated into French.
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The most highly ranked general journals which publish original research in the field of sociology are the and the . The , which publishes original review essays, is also highly ranked. Many other generalist and specialized journals exist.