Edited by John Ishiyama, William J. Miller and Eszter Simon
Chapter 17: Teaching gender politics
The concept of gender is continually experiencing a ‘process of definition refinement and theory production’ (Lovenduski 1998, p. 337). Nicholson (1994, p. 79 cited in Lovenduski 1998) notes that, while gender was developed as a contrasting term to sex ‘to depict that which is socially constructed as opposed to that which is biologically given’, the term is often used to refer ‘to any social construction’ to do with ‘the male/female distinction’. In many respects this ‘theoretical conundrum’ (Lovenduski 1998, p. 337) has generated an ongoing search for conceptual definition, the result of which is that the study of gender politics has changed significantly during the past 40 years. Early studies of gender and politics were primarily concerned with examining women in politics reducing research to what Ritter (2007, p. 389) describes as exercises in counting: how many women vote, are elected, are appointed ministers, are supporters of one party or another, etc.
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