Gender emerged as a major area of interest in the social sciences in the 1970s. Not that differences between men and women had previously passed unnoticed; since the Enlightenment, this entailed an attention to the cultural and social conditions of women's disadvantage. Yet the very genealogy of the notion of gender in the social sciences is linked to the consolidation of feminist thought and the increased awareness that the differences between men and women are sustained by social institutions, reinforced by cultural frames, and encrusted with power relations. The term gender not only corresponds to the need to stress the social construction of difference but also points to the fundamentally relational nature of social identities coded by gender difference: via the notion of gender, accent ...

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