Sociology as a Female Preserve: Feminization and Redirection in Sociological Education and Research
This article updates and expands upon Difuccia et al. (American Sociologist, 38(1), 3–22, DiFuccia et al. 2007), which asked whether, during the first decade of the twenty-first century, sociology in the United States was shifting from a male-dominated discipline and educational enterprise to one controlled for the first time by the persons and interests of women. We expanded the parameters of the study and enriched the data in order to draw more exacting conclusions. Our analyses show that during the last dozen years, a very substantial shift has indeed occurred. Most graduate students and assistant and associate professors at the most prestigious doctoral-granting institutions are now female. With this switch has come a change in the substantive focus of sociology. Curricula at the graduate level are being modified to accommodate interests more typically female than male (as measured by the sex-composition of specialty sections of the American Sociological Association). We find that “female interests” similarly predominate in current sociology dissertations, suggesting that the intellectual changes associated with sociology’s demographic shift are likely to persist. A correlated change is also apparent in ASA leadership.
KeywordsScholarly feminization Faculty sex-composition Sociology doctoral programs Sociological subfields Intellectual change
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