Deceptive Distinctions: Sex, Gender, and the Social Order

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Yale University Press, 1988 - History - 300 pages
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In this important book a leading feminist scholar surveys and critiques gender research in a range of disciplines, showing how distinctions between the sexes are maintained by ideology and social controls.
"A model of sociological common sense, as well as of scholarship.... Epstein addresses basic theoretical, methodological, and epistemological concerns that cut across most sociological specialties.  This book is required reading by every gender sociologist.... It should be read as well by sociologists whose specialty is not gender, and especially by theorists of all stripes.... This is truly the capstone work of a mature scholar." -Janet Saltzman Chafetz, Social Forces
"Deceptive Distinctions really has two agendas.  The first, based on a review of a wide range of scholarship, much of it quite recent, is to argue that men and women are overwhelmingly similar and that any differences between them are socially constructed.  The second is to develop a sociology of knowledge in which the intellectual roots of scholarship on women serve as a case study.  Epstein's project is not only timely but ambitious as well." -Naomi Gerstel, Women's Review of Books
"In this sophisticated and incisive critique, Epstein ranges from sociobiology to linguistics and from politics to psychiatry to iterate her position that gender differences are often used to support the existing structure rather than to advance our understanding or expand our horizons." -Carol C. Nadelson, M.D., American Journal of Psychiatry
"Epstein's informative critique... makes clear [that] the position of women is not an isolated 'problem' but the inevitable result of a complex system of power, opportunity, and incentive.  Epstein shows [how] dichotomous thinking still rules our lives.... By bringing together what sociology knows to the contrary, she has helped move society toward a solution." -Beryl Lieff Benderley, Psychology Today
Co-published with the Russell Sage Foundation.   
 

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Deceptive distinctions: sex, gender, and the social order

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An intelligent overview of gender research in sociology and related fields, this book goes further, presenting Epstein's own conviction that gender distinctions, and the resulting inequality of men ... Read full review

Contents

Sex and the Social Order
1
The Sociology of the Scientific Analysis of Sex and Gender
17
The BioSocial Debate
46
Personality and Social Structure
72
The Sociological Approach
99
Law Public Policy Force and the Threat of Force
118
The Structure of Work and the Economic Pyramid
136
Women and the Political Process
165
Reconceiving the Family
187
Gender Differences in Everyday Behavior Communication and Social Customs
215
Conclusion
232
References
241
Index
291
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