Gendered identities

Mary Holmes*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This chapter begins by sketching an outline of the history and development of ideas about gendered identities. It considers how gender identities are imposed on individuals by social forces and how individuals perform gender identities in accordance with social scripts. The chapter deals with an account of why some of the perspectives are important and deals briefly with the problems attached to the concept of identity, and the challenges this poses for future understandings of gender. Despite the many political and social gains that women have made there are social constraints as well as personal choices. To Erving Goffman and other Symbolic Interactionists, gender is merely a role that we perform in conjunction with others, following social expectations. Symbolic Interaction-ism provides more complex accounts of social scripts for gender identities, but can get lost at the micro-level. The more sophisticated versions of Symbolic Interactionism recognise that people perform, or do, gender according to existing social scripts.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationRoutledge Handbook of Identity Studies
EditorsAnthony Elliott
PublisherRoutledge Taylor & Francis Group
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)9781315626024
ISBN (Print)9781138649064
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jul 2019


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