Pub. date: 2006 | Online Pub. Date: September 15, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412952453 | Print ISBN: 9780761930297 | Online ISBN: 9781412952453| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Gender is a social and cultural categorization defined by the meanings given to biological differences between the sexes. Gender roles are the social skills, abilities, and ways of acting thought appropriate to members of a society depending upon their sex. Since the 1970s, there has been a growing anthropological interest in the construction of gender relations and the significance attached to gender. Anthropologists compare the similarities and differences found in various societies and look for explanations for them. The way in which gender intersects with other kinds of “difference” has become another focus of the work on gender. Until the 1970s, few anthropologists had given detailed attention to gender (Margaret Mead was one of the few). But in the 1970s, feminist anthropology started to investigate women's situations in different social, political, and economic order; the roots of women's subordination; and the general roles of women in different cultures and economies. ...