Gender Identities

Part of the Handbooks of Sociology and Social Research book series (HSSR)


In the following reading, we provide an overview of prevailing approaches to the study of gender identities across multiple disciplines. For the purposes of this chapter we focus on biological, psychological, and sociocultural approaches to gender identities, across which exists considerable overlap. Within the biological sciences, there is a focus on genetics, hormones, and physiology to determine gender identity. Psychological approaches examine evolutionary foundations for gender-linked characteristics, sensitive periods across the lifecourse, and gender schemata. Sociocultural approaches concentrate on the construction of gender and gender identities, how they are experienced and enacted, and their intersections with social institutions and culture. Some theories within this approach aim to deconstruct gender, gender identities, and provoke greater consideration of gender fluidity in cultures across the globe. Biological, psychological, and sociocultural approaches to understanding gender identities are by no means mutually exclusive and we discuss the critical importance of engaging in multi- and interdisciplinary empirical and theoretical dialogues. We close the chapter by considering possible future directions for innovative theoretical and empirical work on gender identities in the twenty-first century.


Gender Gender identity Identity Sex Transgender 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of South CarolinaColumbiaUSA

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