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June 2022

Situated knowledges of personal embodiment - Transgender activists' and psychological theorists' perspectives on 'sex' and 'gender'

Journal/Book: Theor Psychol. 1996; 6: 2455 Teller Rd, Thousand Oaks, CA 91320. Sage Publications Inc. 625-645.

Abstract: Academic psychologists' treatment of 'sex' as an ahistorical, pretheoretical notion in theories of 'gender' is compared and contrasted with knowledge produced by persons whose own gendered embodiment is outside binary gender/sex categories and whose moral agency is erased by theories depicting them as exceptions to a binary-based scheme. This latter knowledge, emerging from an activist community's reflections on its own personal/political praxis in relation to dominant social institutions and ideologies, has selectively incorporated, challenged and transformed gender/sex discourses in significant segments of medicine and academic disciplines other than psychology. Psychological theories continue to reproduce binary categories (and practices organized around them), in part because they incorporate only some of the implications of a social constructivist perspective, and in part because psychologists seem to theorize gender/sex in isolation from other knowledge-producing communities.

Note: Article MB Parlee, Mit, Sch Humanities & Social Sci, Womens Studies Program, E10-044, Cambridge, MA 02139 USA

Keyword(s): gender; sex; social constructivism; transgender

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