The new edition of Key Concepts in Gender Studies is a lively and engaging introduction to this dynamic field. Thoroughly revised throughout, the second edition benefits from the addition of nine new concepts including Gender Social Movements, Intersectionality and Mainstreaming. Each of the entries: • begins with a concise definition • outlines the history of each term and the debates surrounding it • includes illustrations of how the concept has been applied within the field • offers examples which allow a critical re-evaluation of the concept • is cross-referenced with the other key concepts • ends with guidance on further reading. A must-buy for undergraduate and postgraduate students in a range of social science and humanities disciplines.



A dichotomy means a division into two. The concept is especially used when a firm or polarised distinction is made between two entities. In the seventeenth century, Descartes based his philosophy of knowledge on the idea of a fundamental difference between mind and body, a distinction that has come to be known as ‘Cartesian dualism’. This philosophical principle is widely regarded as having a crucial influence on the development of Western theories of knowledge, where reality is understood as if it comprised sets of ‘either/or’ pairings. Some examples of dichotomous (or, as it is sometimes called, binary) thinking are reason/emotion, normal/deviant, culture/nature or science/nature, public/private, self/other, objectivity/subjectivity, female/male and feminine/masculine.

Prokhovnik (2002) identifies four key features of dichotomous thinking. The first feature of dichotomy is ...

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