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Strengths and Limits of "Doing Gender" for Understanding Street Crime

NCJ Number
Theoretical Criminology Volume: 6 Issue: 4 Dated: November 2002 Pages: 433-460
Jody Miller
Date Published
November 2002
28 pages
This article discusses gender difference and how it has limited the use of the doing-gender model for theorizing about gender and crime.
A dualistic model of gender limits the ability to address the ways in which social positioning based on factors such as gender, race, class, sexuality, and generation both intersect in the construction of identity. The doing-gender approach has the danger of slipping into tautology (needless repetition of an idea) when theorizing is not explicitly grounded in empirical investigations of individuals’ constructions and beliefs about the role gender plays in their activities. Analyses cannot employ circular reasoning and must not be static, but instead capable of accounting for transformation and social change. Circular reasoning can occur in several ways: by presuming gendered action occurs primarily in response to gendered norms, and through the assumption of gender duality. Because gender is an asymmetric construct in culture and social structure, it cannot be assumed that doing gender will occur in a symmetrical way across gender. One suggestion is to re-conceptualize social structure to recognize that it is multiple. This approach allows social action to be addressed, not just in a reproductive capacity but also in its transformative aspects. The benefits that emerge from adopting a dynamic conceptualization provide promise for expanding investigation of gendered social action and the accomplishment of crime. 12 notes, 54 references