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FRAMED BEFORE WE KNOW IT: How Gender Shapes Social Relations

CECILIA L. RIDGEWAY
Gender and Society
Vol. 23, No. 2 (April 2009), pp. 145-160
Published by: Sage Publications, Inc.
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/20676769
Page Count: 16
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FRAMED BEFORE WE KNOW IT: How Gender Shapes Social Relations
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Abstract

In this article, I argue that gender is a primary cultural frame for coordinating behavior and organizing social relations. I describe the implications for understanding how gender shapes social behavior and organizational structures. By my analysis, gender typically acts as a background identity that biases, in gendered directions, the performance of behaviors undertaken in the name of organizational roles and identities. I develop an account of how the background effects of the gender frame on behavior vary by the context that different organizational and institutional structures set but can also infuse gendered meanings into organizational practices. Next, I apply this account to two empirical illustrations to demonstrate that we cannot understand the shape that the structure of gender inequality and gender difference takes in particular institutional or societal contexts without taking into account the background effects of the gender frame on behavior in these contexts.

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