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Sociology of Gender

Pink is for girls and blue is for boys… right? Well, no! Parenting manuals from the early 20th century argued that it should be the other away around. But how can that be? Why has it changed? And most importantly, how has that idea shaped and limited your life since you were born?

In this module, we draw on research in Sociology and other disciplines to explore the origins of this and many other ideas about gender, and analyse their effects in society. Using several innovative teaching methods, we will cover many different dimensions of social life: language, media and popular culture, science, work, family relationships, sexuality and intimacy, bodies and emotion, violence, education, politics and feminist movements, to name but a few. In each dimension, we will study gender but also consider how it connects to other areas of social difference and inequality, such as sexuality, race, class, or disability.

Through case-studies taken from our everyday lives – from the gender pay gap to the gender politics of Christmas – you will learn things that you never imagined, and which will radically transform the way you see the world. As many students have said, it is a “mind-blowing module”, and “a learning experience which will change your life and help you change the world!”.

"Sociology of Gender - the focus is far more on the nature of the everyday social activity and how we can reimagine what we have taken all our lives to be normal. Exciting stuff, but nothing too extreme that it isn’t easy to get to grips with. Particularly in the examining of workplace insecurity for non-male or non-binary people, some of the statistics of work based abuse were really staggering. Even getting to the basics of why we constitute our gender and sexualities in the way we do, and how little grounding the hetero-normative male/female binary has in reality, is at first a lot to take in but then very liberating."

- Dan Smitherman, BA Sociology


Module Director:

Maria do Mar Pereira