This book provides a clear, focused road map to the study of the body in society. It defines, explains and applies core topics relating to the human body demonstrating how we approach it as a social phenomenon.

Each concept: Includes an easy to understand definition; Provides real-world examples; Gives suggestions for further reading; Is carefully cross-referenced to other related concepts

Written to meet the needs of the modern student this book offers the basic materials, tools and guidance needed study and write about the body.


Definition Gender is a social category of differentiation applied to the human body that relates to socially understood sets of behaviours, generally divided into two main categories of femininity and masculinity. Sex is the term used for the biological definition of maleness and femaleness. Just what behaviours are considered appropriate to gender categories has changed over time and varies across cultures. This is often termed ‘the sex/gender distinction’.

Ann Oakley (1972) is generally credited as the first sociologist to argue for the sex/gender distinction (see also Nature/Culture). While the dominant hetero-normative expectation is that men will be masculine and women will be feminine, there is a vast range of variability in expressions of gendered characteristics. One may be biologically male and display behaviours or characteristics ...

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