Gender, Gender And Gender Roles Essay

980 Words Nov 29th, 2016 4 Pages
In 2011 Acker reflected on her career and how her research questions have changed over the years. When she started in the late 1960s, she explored why women are less ambitious than men. Being influenced by feminist movement her research question moved to higher education and why it is hostile to women, whereas in the recent years she has focused on the question who ‘the women’ in higher education are.
Acker’s reflection captures the changes in the ways in which gender has been conceptualized in research and moreover how the way in which gender is conceptualized in return shapes research. When she started her career in the late 1960s, the field of gender studies drew extensively on sex and gender role theories. They assert that gender is an individual trait which is internalized in childhood through socialization (Risman and Davis, 2013). Thus, femininity and masculinity are perceived essential features; something that we are. The gender and sex role theories draw initially on functionalist understanding of gender. In this line of though, male and female roles are understood as mutual and complimentary that had their instrumental and expressive functions in a nuclear family (Parsons and Bales, 1955). In contrast to the claims maintaining that gender and sex role theories are ahistorical and do not take the power relations between men and women in consideration (Connell, 1985), they acknowledge both cultural differences as well as ‘the unequal balance of power between the…

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