The Sex and Gender Section sponsors a number of awards for outstanding scholarship. We are pleased to announce the following distinguished contributions to the field. Information about nominating scholars and scholarship for awards for the current year and a listing of past award winners is available here:
Congratulations to the 2018 Section Award Winners!
Sociology of Sex and Gender Distinguished Article Award
“Risky Mothers and the Normalcy Project: Women with Disabilities Negotiate Scientific Motherhood”
Gender & Society, 2017
Feminist scholars have been critical of the expectations placed upon mothers to accomplish a perfect version of motherhood, but have often failed to interrogate the values about normalcy and disability imbedded in modern mothering ideologies. Mothers with disabilities are well positioned to expose the underlying beliefs about normalcy with which all mothers must contend. Drawing from interviews and focus groups conducted with mothers who have physical and sensory disabilities, I explore Deaf/disabled women’s experiences negotiating the scientific motherhood regime. Illuminating a paradox, I argue these women are labeled “risky mothers” under scientific motherhood, which prizes the management of risk and the prevention of disability. Yet, these mothers are simultaneously rendered invisible by inaccessible and inflexible medical practices, and by a consumer market of expert advice which prescribes that mothers inhabit a typical body. These women’s experiences illuminate the normalcy project as a central tenet of scientific motherhood.
“Working for Redemption: Formerly Incarcerated Black Women and Punishment in the Labor Market”
Gender & Society, 2017
This article uses 18 months of ethnographic observations with formerly incarcerated black women to contend that they are subjected to what I term rehabilitation labor—a series of unwritten state practices that seek to govern the transformation of formerly incarcerated people from criminals to workers. I reveal that employment is subjectively policed by state agents and must meet three conditions to count as work: reliable, recognizable, and redemptive. I find that women who are unable to meet these employment conditions are framed by state agents as failing to demonstrate an appropriate commitment to their moral—and therefore criminal—rehabilitation, and consequently experience perceived threats of reincarceration. Building a theory of intersectional capitalism, I argue that rehabilitation labor is situated within a broader historical project of making black women legible to the state through the labor market.
Sociology of Sex and Gender Distinguished Book Award
Pathways of Desire: The Sexual Migration of Mexican Gay Men, University of Chicago Press 2017
With Pathways of Desire, Héctor Carrillo brings us into the lives of Mexican gay men who have left their home country to pursue greater sexual autonomy and sexual freedom in the United States. The groundbreaking ethnographic study brings our attention to the full arc of these men’s migration experiences, from their upbringing in Mexican cities and towns, to their cross-border journeys, to their incorporation into urban gay communities in American cities, and their sexual and romantic relationships with American men. These men’s diverse and fascinating stories demonstrate the intertwining of sexual, economic, and familial motivations for migration.
Further, Carrillo shows that sexual globalization must be regarded as a bidirectional, albeit uneven, process of exchange between countries in the global north and the global south. With this approach, Carrillo challenges the view that gay men from countries like Mexico would logically want to migrate to a “more sexually enlightened” country like the United States—a partial and limited understanding, given the dynamic character of sexuality in countries such as Mexico, which are becoming more accepting of sexual diversity. Pathways of Desire also provides a helpful analytical framework for the simultaneous consideration of structural and cultural factors in social scientific studies of sexuality. Carrillo explains the patterns of cross-cultural interaction that sexual migration generates and—at the most practical level—shows how the intricacies of cross-cultural sexual and romantic relations may affect the sexual health and HIV risk of transnational immigrant populations.
Queering Families: The Postmodern Partnerships of Cisgender Women and Transgender Men, Oxford University Press 2017
- Represents the largest, most geographically comprehensive, in-depth interview study conducted with the cisgender women partners of transgender men to date
- Features excerpts from award-winning article content, brand new analyses, and expansion upon previously-published work
- Serves as an excellent addition to graduate and undergraduate courses on marriage and family, LGBT communities, gender, sexualities, sociology, and qualitative methods
Sociology of Sex and Gender Feminist Scholar Activist Award
Rhacel Parrenas, University of Southern California
Sociology of Sex and Gender Sally Hacker Graduate Student Paper Award
Stephanie Bonnes, U Colorado, Boulder, “The Bureaucratic Harassment of U.S. Servicewomen”
Gender & Society, 2017
Focusing on the U.S. military as a gendered and raced institution and using 33 in-depth interviews with U.S. servicewomen, this study identifies tactics and consequences of workplace harassment that occur through administrative channels, a phenomenon I label bureaucratic harassment. I identify bureaucratic harassment as a force by which some servicemen harass, intimidate, and control individual, as well as groups of, servicewomen through bureaucratic channels. Examples include issuing minor infractions with the intention of delaying or stopping promotions, threatening to withhold military benefits for reporting sexual abuse/harassment, and revoking servicewomen’s qualifications in order to remove them from positions or units. The manipulation of administrative rules and regulations is made possible by the interplay between a gendered and raced organizational climate and bureaucratic features such as discretion, hierarchy, and the blending of work and personal life. I show that bureaucratic harassment has both raced and gendered implications. Ultimately, harassment that is enacted through bureaucratic means is often overlooked but carries distinct consequences for the professional careers and workplace experiences of the victims.
(1) Jessica Pfaffendorf, Univ of Arizona
“Sensitive Cowboys: Privileged Young Men and the Mobilization of Hybrid Masculinities”
Gender & Society, 2017
In the past few decades, a multi-billion-dollar “therapeutic boarding school” industry has emerged for America’s troubled upper-class youth. This article examines the therapeutic models prominent in these programs and the ways they conflict with dominant notions of masculinity. Using in-depth interviews and ethnographic fieldwork inside a Western therapeutic boarding school, I show how privileged young men navigate this masculinity dilemma by constructing hybrid masculinities that incorporate qualities associated with femininities and subordinate masculinities. However, these qualities are incorporated strategically and in ways that reproduce and obscure privileges associated with students’ positions as young, upper-class, white men. Using hybrid masculine styles that include humility, commitment to service, and open emotional expression, students re-assert dominant positions as leaders and as “better” men in contrast to various others.
(2) Heidi Gansen, Univ of Michigan
“Reproducing (and Disrupting) Heteronormativity: Gendered Sexual Socialization in Preschool Classrooms”
Sociology of Education, 2017
Using ethnographic data from 10 months of observations in nine preschool classrooms, I examine gendered sexual socialization children receive from teachers’ practices and reproduce through peer interactions. I find heteronormativity permeates preschool classrooms, where teachers construct (and occasionally disrupt) gendered sexuality in a number of different ways, and children reproduce (and sometimes resist) these identities and norms in their daily play. Teachers use what I call facilitative, restrictive, disruptive, and passive approaches to sexual socialization in preschool classrooms. Teachers’ approaches to gendered sexual socialization varied across preschools observed and affected teachers’ response to children’s behaviors, such as heterosexual romantic play (kissing and relationships), bodily displays, and consent. Additionally, my data suggest young children are learning in preschool that boys have gendered power over girls’ bodies. I find that before children have salient sexual identities of their own, children are beginning to make sense of heteronormativity and rules associated with sexuality through interactions with their teachers and peers in preschool.
Section on Sex and Gender
American Sociological Association