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Journal Article

Boundaries, Negotiation, Consciousness: Reconceptualizing Gender Relations

Judith M. Gerson and Kathy Peiss
Social Problems
Vol. 32, No. 4 (Apr., 1985), pp. 317-331
DOI: 10.2307/800755
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/800755
Page Count: 15
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Boundaries, Negotiation, Consciousness: Reconceptualizing Gender Relations
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Abstract

This paper identifies and analyzes three constructs basic to the study of gender relations--boundaries, negotiation and domination, and consciousness. The concept of boundaries describes the complex structures--physical, social, ideological, and psychological--which establish differences and commonalities between women and men, among women, and among men. The reciprocal processes of negotiation and domination elucidate the ways in which women and men act to support and/or challenge the existing system of gender relations. While domination describes systems of control and coercion, negotiation addresses the ways women and men bargain for privileges and resources. Consciousness assumes various forms ranging from gender awareness to feminist/anti-feminist consciousness, and is conceived as a process which develops dialectically in the social relations of the sexes. We argue that this conceptual framework produces a more sensitive and complex set of analytical tools for understanding gender relations.

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