Masculine domination: investing in gender?

Ashall, Wendy (2004) Masculine domination: investing in gender? Studies in Social and Political Thought (9). pp. 21-39. ISSN 2398-3884

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It is my intention in this article to investigate whether Bourdieu’s theory of cultural capital, as outlined in Masculine Domination, can be said to adequately account for the subordinate position of women and the perpetuation of masculine domination as evidenced in education and the workplace. I will argue that the ‘gendered habitus’, as outlined by Bourdieu (1930-2002) in Masculine Domination, successfully addresses the inferior status of women, providing a useful tool for the analysis of the unequal power relations between the sexes. Further, I will show that Bourdieu’s theory of cultural capital may explain why women so often appear to collude in their own subordination; why girls still appear to favour the more ‘traditionally feminine’ subjects at school and later university, leading them to eventually enter ‘traditional’ jobs which are invariably of lower status. It is my contention that it would be more helpful to think about gender as central to habitus and as a form of cultural capital. An understanding of both feminine and masculine habitus, and the symbolic and economic rewards that these do or do not bring, helps us to understand the persistence of gender inequality in contemporary societies. Despite second wave feminisms’ assertion that capitalism is gendered (Gottfried, 1998:451), we have some way to go before competently theorising the interplay between class and gender. I have previously argued (Ashall, 1999) that we should seek to study ‘gender capital’; parallel concepts such as ‘race capital’ are also now called for (McRobbie, 2002; Moi 2000). Here I return to this argument following the publication, in English, of Masculine Domination. Though Bourdieu says little that is new here (Jenkins, 2002:xi), this book represents the mature embodiment of his thought on gender as the fundamental symbolic classification, the model of social division.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Global Studies > Anthropology
SWORD Depositor: Mx Elements Account
Depositing User: Mx Elements Account
Date Deposited: 19 Jun 2020 06:55
Last Modified: 19 Jun 2020 07:00

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