Categorization is a central part of social life. Categorizing ourselves and others—by gender, race, age, and more—is one way that we make sense of our world. We use these categories to interpret and form action in ways both mundane and profound. Each time we do, we produce those categories as social reality: we contribute to the formation of their meanings, boundaries, and related systems of power.
My research explores this formation of categories and related systems, connecting mundane interactional practices to wide-reaching social systems of power and oppression.
Gender practices and the production of a gendered society
Gender is an ongoing process, emerging from situated social practices. As such, gender is never one thing: at any given moment, people across a society enact a variety of gender formations that construct gender categories and their relations to one another in different ways. My dissertation research examines these processes. I identify interactional practices that engage in the production of gender, whether designedly or incidentally. I show how these practices carry out gender projects: enactments of gender paradigms that define the meaning, boundaries, and relations of gender categories. In doing so, I locate the production of gender in on-the-ground embodied social interaction and illuminate mechanisms that shape gendered social order.