What are gender and Gender Studies?
The term "gender" was introduced in Sweden in 1988 by Professor Yvonne Hirdman in the scholarly journal Kvinnovetenskaplig tidskrift 1988:3. She translated the English term "gender" into "genus" and developed a theoretical approach to the gender system of society. Since then, Gender Studies ("genusvetenskap/genusforskning") have been used in parallel with other names such as Women's Studies ("kvinnovetenskap") , which stems from the birth of the research field in the academic setting as an extension of the women's movement of the 1970s.
In international feminist research, the English terms "sex" and "gender" have been used to distinguish between biological sex and socioculturally constructed gender. The original purpose of the distinction was to demonstrate the myriad interpretations, preconceptions and sociocultural constructions that govern our interpretations of sex/gender, feminine/masculine, female/male, transsex/transgender, bisexual etc. The distinction came under fire in the 1980s and 1990s, when it was criticized for reflecting a problematic dichotomy between Nature and Culture, and for the conservation of a two-gender-model and a normative heterosexuality. Many theories on the interplay and connection between sexed bodies and sociocultural gender systems have evolved against the backdrop of that critique.
The normative relationship between body, desire and sexual identity has been problematized in "Queer Theory", a field related to Gender Studies. Some theoreticians have emphasized that sexual difference is a difference that makes difference ("Sexual Difference Theory"). As a sub area of Gender Studies, critical studies of men and masculinity have focused on how masculinity and masculine hegemony are culturally and socially constructed. Finally, one of the hallmarks of Gender Studies is that it often focuses on power relations that are not based solely on gender, but on intersections between gender and other sociocultural categories such as class, nationality, ethnicity, race, age, sexuality, etc. (intersectionality).
The National Secretariat for Gender Research has organized a series of studies of Swedish gender studies education. In a recently published report within this series, gender studies alumni have responded to survey questions and participated in focus group interviews, to provide a picture of the connections between gender studies education, ways of perceiving the competencies specific to gender studies, and experiences from the working life that for many alumni have followed after their education.
Björn Pernrud email@example.com
About Gender Studies
The objective for TEMA - The Department of Thematic Studies is to pursue excellent research and education at undergraduate and advanced levels relevant to society. Tema aims to provide a major impetus in career development for both future researchers and those who have just entered the field of research
Last updated: 2013-05-17