About the Book
During the past three decades, feminist scholars have successfully demonstrated the ubiq- uity and omnirelevance of gender as a sociocultural construction in virtually all human collectivities, past and present. Intrapsychic, interactional, and collective social processes are gendered, as are micro, meso, and macro social structures. Gender shapes, and is shaped, in all arenas of social life, from the most mundane practices of everyday life to those of the most powerful corporate actors. Contemporary understandings of gender emanate from a large community of primarily feminist scholars that spans the gamut of learned disciplines and also includes non-academic activist thinkers. However, while in- corporating some cross-disciplinary material, this volume focuses specifically on socio- logical theories and research concerning gender, which are discussed across the full array of social processes, structures, and institutions. As editor, I have explicitly tried to shape the contributions to this volume along several lines that reflect my long-standing views about sociology in general, and gender sociology in particular. First, I asked authors to include cross-national and historical material as much as possible. This request reflects my belief that understanding and evaluating the here-and-now and working realistically for a better future can only be accomplished from a comparative perspective. Too often, American sociology has been both tempero- and ethnocentric. Second, I have asked authors to be sensitive to within-gender differences along class, racial/ethnic, sexual preference, and age cohort lines.