Skip to main content

Cultural Constructions of Gender

  • Reference work entry
Encyclopedia of Sex and Gender

Introduction

Throughout the 19th century and the first half of the 20th century a considerable amount of ethnographic data regarding cultural variations in concepts of sex and gender were collected. The data included a variety of casual mentions, some detailed case-oriented studies, and compilations of data. However, most of these were cast within an ethnocentric paradigm focused on psychosocial anomalies or presumed pathologies. The major exception was the collection by Ford and Beach (1951) dealing with variations in human sexual behavior, looking to develop a sense of patterning. A little more than 20 years later, Martin and Voorhies (1975) coined the term “supernumerary sexes” in an effort to make sense out of the data that then existed. They meant this term to refer to cultural categories that did not fit the Western European and North American bipolar paradigms.

Although a great deal of ethnographic data regarding cultural variations in conceptualizing sex and gender had been...

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this chapter

Chapter
USD 29.95
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Available as PDF
  • Read on any device
  • Instant download
  • Own it forever
eBook
USD 509.00
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Available as EPUB and PDF
  • Read on any device
  • Instant download
  • Own it forever
Hardcover Book
USD 449.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Durable hardcover edition
  • Dispatched in 3 to 5 business days
  • Free shipping worldwide - see info

Tax calculation will be finalised at checkout

Purchases are for personal use only

Institutional subscriptions

References

  1. Amadiume, I. (1987). Male daughters, female husbands: Gender and sex in an African society. London: Zed Books.

    Google Scholar 

  2. Blackwood, B. (1935). Both sides of Buka passage: An ethnographic study of social, sexual and economic questions in the northwestern Solomon Islands. Oxford: Clarendon Press.

    Google Scholar 

  3. Bogoras, W. (1909). The Chuckchee. In F. Boas (ed.), Memoirs of the American Museum of Natural History (Vol. XI). Leiden, Netherlands: E.J.Brill. (New York: Johnson Reprint Corporation.)

    Google Scholar 

  4. Bradley, S. W. (Producer/Director) & Phillips, R. (Writer) (1991). Gender the enduring paradox [Videotape]. Co-produced by WETA-TV and the Smithsonian Institution, with Wentworth Films Inc., Alexandria, VA.

    Google Scholar 

  5. Bullough, V. (1976). Sexual variance in society and history. New York: Wiley.

    Google Scholar 

  6. Donham, D. L. (1998). Freeing South Africa: The “modernization” of male-male sexuality in Soweto. Cultural Anthropology, 13(1), 3–21.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  7. Edgerton, R. B. (1964). Pokot intersexuality: An East African example of the resolution of sexual incongruity. American Anthropologist, 66, 1288–1299.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  8. Elliston, D. A. (1999). Negotiating transnational sexual economies: Female mahu and same-sex sexuality in “Tahiti and her islands.” In E. Blackwood and S. Wieringa (Eds.), Female desires: Same-sex relations and transgender practices across cultures (pp. 230–254). New York: Columbia University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  9. Ford, C. S. & Beach, F. A. (Eds.). (1951). Patterns of sexual behavior. New York: Harper.

    Google Scholar 

  10. Gluckman, M. (1956). Custom and conflict in Africa. New York: Barnes and Noble.

    Google Scholar 

  11. Gregor, T. (1985). Anxious pleasures: The sexual lives of an Amazonian people. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

    Google Scholar 

  12. Hill, W. W. (1935). The status of the hermaphrodite and transvestite in Navaho culture. American Anthropologist, 37, 273–279.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  13. Jacobs, S.-E., & Cromwell, J. (1992). Visions and revisions of reality: Reflections on sex, sexuality, gender and gender variance. Journal of Homosexuality, 23(4), 43–69.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  14. Kulick, D. (1998). Travesti: Sex, gender and culture among Brazilian transgendered prostitutes. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

    Google Scholar 

  15. Levin, M. G. & Potapov, L. P. (Eds.). (1964). The peoples of Siberia (S. P. Dunn, Trans & Ed.). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

    Google Scholar 

  16. Levy, R. I. (1971). The community functions of Tahitian male transvestites. Anthropological Quarterly, 44, 12–21.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  17. Levy, R. I. (1973). Tahitians: Mind and experience in the Society Islands. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

    Google Scholar 

  18. Lorber, J. (1994). Paradoxes of gender. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  19. Martin, M. K. & Voorhies, B. (1975). Female of the species. New York: Columbia University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  20. Mead, M. (1950). Sex and temperament in three primitive societies. New York: New American Library.

    Google Scholar 

  21. Meigs, A. S. (1976). Male pregnancy and the reduction of sexual opposition in a New Guinea Highlands society. Ethnology, 15(4), 393–407.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  22. Munroe, R. L. & Whiting, J. W. M. (1969). Institutionalized male transvestism and sex distinctions. American Anthropologist, 71, 87–91.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  23. Munroe, R. L., Munroe, R. H., Whiting, J. H. W. (1981). Male-sex role resolutions. In R. H. Munroe, R. L. Munroe, & B. B. Whiting (Eds.), Handbook of cross-cultural human development (pp. 611–632). New York: Garland STPM Press.

    Google Scholar 

  24. Murray, S. O. (2000). Homosexualities. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

    Google Scholar 

  25. Segal, E. S. (1997). Male genders: cross cultural perspectives. In V. Demos & M. Texler Segal (Eds.), Advances in gender research (Vol. 2, pp. 37–77). JAI Press.

    Google Scholar 

  26. Smith Oboler, R. (1980). Is the female husband a man? Woman/woman marriage among the Nandi of Kenya. Ethnology, 19(1), 69–88.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  27. Turnbull, C. (1986). Sex and gender: the role of subjectivity in field research. In T. L. Whitehead & M. E. Conaway (Eds.), Self, sex and gender in cross-cultural fieldwork (pp. 17–27). Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press.

    Google Scholar 

  28. Wikan, U. (1977). Man becomes woman: Transsexualism in Oman as a key to gender roles. Man (NS), 12(3), 304–319.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  29. Wikan, U. (1982). Behind the veil in Arabia:Women in Oman. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

    Google Scholar 

  30. Williams, W. (1992). The spirit and the flesh. Boston: Beacon Press.

    Google Scholar 

  31. Wood, J. (1996). When men are women: Opposition and ambivalence among Gabra nomads of Northern Kenya and Southern Ethiopia. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Anthropological Association, San Francisco, CA, November.

    Google Scholar 

  32. Wood, J. (1999). When men are women: Manhood among the Gabra nomads of East Africa. Madison, WI: Wisconsin University Press.

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Authors

Editor information

Editors and Affiliations

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

Copyright information

© 2003 Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers

About this entry

Cite this entry

Segal, E.S. (2003). Cultural Constructions of Gender. In: Ember, C.R., Ember, M. (eds) Encyclopedia of Sex and Gender. Springer, Boston, MA. https://doi.org/10.1007/0-387-29907-6_1

Download citation

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/0-387-29907-6_1

  • Publisher Name: Springer, Boston, MA

  • Print ISBN: 978-0-306-47770-6

  • Online ISBN: 978-0-387-29907-5

  • eBook Packages: Springer Book Archive

Publish with us

Policies and ethics