Unit Seven – Gender, Generation, and Family

Gender, Generation, and Family


What to Do for Unit Seven – Unit Seven Assignments

You are writing for your audience living where there is NO Gender (gender, as in socio-cultural construction of femininity  and masculinity), where each individual is unique and the society does not assign gender roles and ideas to people, and they do not perform gender. So, start your unit seven ethnographic notes by an introductory paragraph on what gender and performing gender means. There is also no sexuality, the way it is understood among humans. In your introductory note also briefly define or describe human sexuality.

1) Ethnographic Notes A – Performing Gender on the Campus

Give and describe examples of “performing gender” on the Campus.

Minimum of two examples/pieces of visual ethnographic data per group member

Examples: Dress, Various Forms of Commodities People Use, Verbal Language, Various Forms of Body Language by Individuals and Groups, Hair, Use of Gender-Segragated Spaces, …

Provide feedback to another post on Performing Gender on the Campus as an individual class member.


2) Ethnographic Notes B – Sexuality, Generation, Class, and Ethnicity in the Atlanta Metropolitan Area

The subject matter of PBS NOW program titled Fighting Child Prostitution and the PBS Frontline program title The Lost Children of Rockdale County is related to issues of sex and sexuality among the youth of two different neighborhoods in the metropolitan Atlanta area. Watch the video and read the texts.
In your ethnographic notes for your audience compare how female teenager sexuality and bodies are is dealt with by the media, by the various parts of the state apparatus, by the communities, by the market system, by males, and by the female teenagers themselves.

Provide feedback to another post on the Atlanta Metropolitan Area as an individual class member.


3) Research Project Progress – Gendered Aspects of Your Topic. Make sure to use proper citation.

Of course, if you would prefer, you can choose another aspect from the list for this unit.

 Provide feedback to a post on Gendered Aspects of a research topic different from yours  as an individual class member.


Gender could be defined as socio-cultural construction of masculinity and femininity.

Like all socio-cultural constructions, gender is historically constructed, that is, gender constructions go through transformations over time.

It should be emphasized that gender could be constructed differently at any historical period, or even within the same community. Compare, for instance, how gender is constructed during a college football game, with how gender is constructed in class rooms in colleges.  Also note that both football match and class events are ritual-like.

Gender , Sex and Performativity 

Judith Butler – Gender and Sex


Judith Butler – Performing Gender


Judith Butler – Short Speech on Gender


Judith Butler – How Discourse Creates Homosexuality


Judith Butler – Your Behavior Creates Your Gender


Uptalk – An Example of Performing Gender



Anthropological studies of the family reflect many of the larger tensions and trends that have typified the discipline in the latter half of the twentieth century.

Central anthropological arguments including those about the role of biology in social reproduction, the evolution of culture, the organization of social and cultural data, and the pervasiveness of Western ideologies have played a major role in the development of the anthropological literature on the family.

The “family” is a social concept and academic work on the family has been influenced by popular cultural assumptions, debates, and trends of the time.

Since the 1970s, first feminism and then gay, lesbian and queer studies have made important contributions in moving anthropology toward an understanding of family that is analytically sophisticated in its ability to think about heterogeneity at the same time that it reflects the on-the-ground realities of real families.

Until the last few decadesanthropological definitions of the family were rather unreflective and heavily influenced by largely unexamined Western cultural assumptions about biology and its relationship to kinship.

Disentangling the history of family studies from kinship studies in anthropology is very difficult because, among researchers, kinship early on became the basis for understanding family.

In an effort to make cross-cultural comparisons meaningful, anthropologist were concerned with a universal definition of the “family”one that could be used across time and place, even in a given society, such as that of the U.S..

Family was defined in its distinction from household.

Family” most often defined as a group composed of individuals who share some genetic connection—expressed most obviously in the nurturing of children—and having rights to property.

There used to be a tendency among researchers to place women at the emotional and reproductive centers of the family and place men, through whom inheritance usually occurred, in productive center.

“Household” referred to individuals sharing residential space, domestic resources, and usually productive tasks but who may not necessarily share a genetic connection.

However, it is in the family (not the household) where the necessary reproductive activities of childbearing and child rearing take place.

It was also “the family” that was frequently imbued with certain affective or emotional orientations.

The late 1970s marked a turning point in anthropology for family studies.

This was a time when old, embedded assumptions about the universality of the family and its sociological purposes were debated and ultimately discarded.

Especially in American anthropology, the new approaches to the study of the family were influenced by two intersecting currents.

1)  Some scholars were concerned with contributing to the debates about the possible social changes to the family brought about by the American feminist movement.

At the time there was much public discussion about the potential dangers of the inevitable decline of the “American family,” which opponents of the feminist movement claimed would necessarily accompany changes in women’s social roles.

Using cross-cultural evidencefeminist anthropologists sought to expose the unsupported assumptions that guided popular and academic discourses concerning the “ideal” composition and configuration of the family.

2) There was a discipline-wide shift in the orientation of anthropological theory. Anthropologists were moving away from the almost century-long pursuit ofidentifying “types” and defining humanuniversal, and moving more toward analyses of cultural meanings and their relationships to particular social forms and processes.

American Families in Historical Context

When studying the American family in its historical context, we look at the most significant changes over time?

We must examine different periods in historical past.

Family in History – The concept of “traditional family” needs to be located in time. Colonial family was  different from family of Victorian era, and they were different from the family values emerging in the 1920’s.

Family and Class – We also need to consider socio-economic class differences in any given historical period.

The Private and Public Boundary – The sharp boundary between the modern American family and the rest of society is a recent development.

Modernity and Family – With modernity ideas pertaining to privacy grew, affective ties within families as ideology also grew, so did the principle of personal autonomy and individualism.

Parental involvement in early child care has grown considerably with the emergence of modernity. Children are more likely to survive.

The role of father in socialization and educating of young children has diminished with modernity.

A crucial tension characteristic of emerging American modernity is still with us: the power of parents versus the power of state.




How American Women Are Changing Buddhism



The Lost Children of Rockdale County



Fighting Child Prostitution



Lost Boys: Demolishing Under-Age Prostitution Stereotypes



The Contemporary American Family

MIT OpenCourseWare


— —————————

Helen Fischer – TED Talk – Why We Love and Cheat



Judith Butler’s Talk at the OWS place/event




Performing Female Masculinities at the Intersections of Gender, Class, Race, Ethnicity, and Sexuality



Exotifying Asian Women: The White Racial Frame Again

By Joe



Fun and Fear




Ad Women




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