Identity construction: gender


The aim of today’s lesson was to continue to understand the process of identity construction. In other words, understanding how socialisation leads to the creation of identity (i.e. a sense of self).

We talked about how, what Durkheim might call, ‘social facts’ such as gender, religion, class and ethnic background, affect our concept of self.

From these ‘social facts’, gender was selected for further study. During the lesson we emphasized the fact that sex and gender are different. While someone’s sex is biological, their gender is ‘learnt’ through socialisation; as we noted in class ‘Traditionally, sociologists view gender as a social construct.’

We looked at the role that family, particularly parents, play in shaping our gender through the toys that they encourage us to play with, and through the differing expectations they have of our abilities (see BBC documentary: Is your brain male or female? 2015). We tried to apply functionalist, conflict and interactionist theory to the idea of gender socialisation.

We also read pg.252-257 of the Germov & Poole textbook to deepen our understanding of the concept ‘gender’ in sociology. We also made attempts to connect what we were reading with theory. See student examples below:

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