• Summary
  • Contents
  • Subject index

The central argument of this book is that the sex//gender distinction is invalid and must be transcended. To this end, the work of Foucault, Connell, Goffman, Garfinkel, Butler, Freud, Derrida, Saussure, Lacquer and Kessler and McKenna is woven into a rich and compelling set of arguments. The sex//gender distinction is attacked for producing a series of irresolvable traps. However much one tries to think one's way out of the dichotomy, one ends up being suckered back into its imponderables and blind alleys. The book attempts to comprehensively reorientate the field and redefine the terrain.

Looming outside the Space Station
Looming outside the space station

A similar point to Laqueur's about the lack of self-evidence of the body is made by Bob Connell in Gender and Power and, indeed, it forms the basis of his critique of the presumption in our culture that the reproductive dichotomy provides the foundation of both gender and sexuality. The body does not, in and of itself, provide us with the means to make sense of it. On the contrary, we confer meaning upon it. However, we automatically presume that our sense of what that body is about, our sense of the differences it displays emerges ab origine from what it is, and that this is incontrovertible. ‘For many people,’ he says, ‘the notion of natural ...

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