The Policy Press
Considering its small size and the title, this little gem of a book offers a surprisingly comprehensive introduction to the key theoretical concepts, developments and critical debates in gender studies, writes Lynn Baxter.
It’s one of the easiest and refreshing books I’ve read recently on sex and gender.
It starts with the description of a not-so-contemporary, but famous, scene from Only Fools and Horses.
Readers are helped in following many of the complex and contentious arguments through the discussion of contemporary case studies, including extracts from popular media and policy documents.
There are many stimulating, thought-provoking ideas in the book but chapter three is the most interesting, and relevant, for social workers.
Entitled “Different and the Same?”, it explores how gender identities are influenced and shaped by different combinations of particular social, cultural and political factors.
In addition, it looks at how perspectives from gender theory help raise our awareness of diversity among people and where different forms of social inclusion and exclusion connect.
Gender studies, according to the author, have put discussion of connections between different dimensions of social exclusion and discrimination “on the agenda” and a gender focus aids our understanding and analysis of social inequalities and unequal power relations to better address discrimination and promote change.
Lynn Baxter is senior lecturer in social work at the University of Greenwich