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The Construction of Gender

Historical and Societal Conditioning in the Creation of Gender Difference

Jane L. Bownas is an independent scholar who has published several articles on Thomas Hardy. Her Thomas Hardy . and Empire: The Representation of Imperial Themes in the Work of Thomas Hardy was published in 2012; and War, the Hero and the Will: Hardy, Tolstoy and the Napoleonic Wars in 2014.

Investigating the construction of gender needs to begin from the days of the ‘hunter-gatherer’ and the development of agriculture, about 10,000 years ago. Recent archaeological discovery and scientific research reveals the long-held assumptions regarding the roles males and females should play in society. Moving forward time-wise, a comparison is made between the lives lived by women in Ancient Greece, and the lives of warrior women known as Amazons who lived in lands to the East and matched men in strength and combat

 The texts of the three great monotheistic religions of the Western world, Judaism, Christianity and Islam mainly depict women as being the helpers and supporters of men, with the primary function of bearing and caring for their children. In more recent times countless examples may be found of how children are conditioned to behave and dress in a certain way according to their sex. As discussion moves to the contemporary, novels and other media can be probed for insight, Virginia Woolf’s novel Orlando being particularly relevant. Philosophers throughout the centuries have had much to say about women, mainly about their inferiority, so the works of Kant, Hegel and Nietzsche, as well as modern thinkers such as Derrida, Lacan, Kristeva and Butler are highly relevant to the better understanding gender complexities. 

Research carried out by neuroscientists and behavioural scientists using recent techniques such as functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) suggests that there is little if any difference between male and female brains, and that most behavioural sex differences are socially constructed. The author brings together myriad arguments from history, sociology and science to provide tools for betting understanding the important difference between the terms sex and gender.

Paperback ISBN: 978-1-78976-198-6
Paperback Price: £24.95 / $34.95
Release Date: March 2023
Page Extent / Format: 240 pp. 229 x 152 mm
Illustrated: No


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