Sex and Gender

Sex and Gender

Sex and Gender

Sex and Gender


Sex and Gender (2nd edt.) is a substantially revised edition of a classic text. Adopting a balanced approach to the often controversial study of sex differences, the authors introduce the reader to the fundamental questions relating to sex and gender in an accessible way. Drawing on the latest research, new developments are explored such as the rise of evolutionary psychology and the influence of Social Role Theory as well as new psychoanalytic and ethno-methodological approaches which have all contributed to a greater understanding of the complex nature of masculinity and femininity.


This new edition of Sex and Gender builds upon an intellectual collaboration that began a quarter of a century ago. We have seen major changes in the area described as sex differences. The pace of change has been particularly rapid in the past seventeen years since our 1985 American edition of the original 1982 book and has prompted us to radically revise our earlier texts.

Piecemeal, almost opportunistic research on sex differences has given way to theoretically driven studies summarised through the use of coherent statistical models. Perhaps the most striking change is the influence of evolutionary psychology. It has gained many adherents but does not hold complete sway. In seeking to be heard, social scientists of other persuasions have sharpened their arguments. Social role theory has become a serious contender, while a variety of psychoanalytic accounts and ethnomethodological approaches have contributed to a deeper understanding of the nature of masculinity and femininity. We hope that this volume goes some way to produce clarity in a complex and changing field.

Readers of the earlier work will recognise the familiar structure of ten chapters. The first sets the scene. Each of the eight that follows focuses on a broad theme: stereotypes, origins, developmental influences, sexuality, aggression–violence–power, fear–anxiety–mental health, the domestic sphere, and, finally, work–education and occupational achievement. In chapter 10 we consider changes and suggest the direction studies of sex differences may take in the future.

This new edition has been some time in the making and we wish to thank the individuals who helped us along the way. Catherine Max originally encouraged us to consider a new edition and Sarah Caro, at Cambridge University Press, has seen the project to fruition. A number of academic colleagues have contributed valuable advice both in reading chapters and in offering us their to-be-published material. They include Anne Campbell, Michelle Davies, Niki Graham-Kevan, David Hitchin, Barbara Krahé, Kevin Lucas, Felicio Pratto, and John E. Williams. We are particularly grateful to Alice Eagly who read the complete manuscript and provided many thoughtful comments. Once again special thanks are due to Peter Lloyd.

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