Transgender Identities: Towards a Social Analysis of Gender Diversity

Transgender Identities: Towards a Social Analysis of Gender Diversity

Transgender Identities: Towards a Social Analysis of Gender Diversity

Transgender Identities: Towards a Social Analysis of Gender Diversity

Synopsis

In recent years transgender has emerged as a subject of increasing social and cultural interest. This volume offers vivid accounts of the diversity of living transgender in today's world. The first section, "Emerging Identities," maps the ways in which social, cultural, legal and medical developments shape new identities on both an individual and collective level. Rather than simply reflecting social change, these shifts work to actively construct contemporary identities. The second section, "Trans Governance," examines how law and social policy have responded to contemporary gender shifts. The third section, "Transforming Identity," explores gender and sexual identity practices within cultural and subcultural spaces. The final section, "Transforming Theory?," offers a theoretical reflection on the increasing visibility of trans people in today's society and traces the challenges and the contributions transgender theory has brought to gender theory, queer theory and sociological approaches to identity and citizenship. Featuring contributions from throughout the world, this volume represents the cutting-edge scholarship in transgender studies and will be of interest to scholars and students interested in gender, sexuality, and sociology.

Excerpt

Transgender Identities: Towards a Social Analysis of Gender Diversity emerges from, and speaks to, recent sociological considerations of ‘transgender.’ The term ‘transgender’ denotes a range of gender experiences, subjectivities and presentations that fall across, between or beyond stable categories of ‘man’ and ‘woman.’ ‘Transgender’ includes gender identities that have, more traditionally, been described as ‘transsexual,’ and a diversity of genders that call into question an assumed relationship between gender identity and presentation and the ‘sexed’ body.

This introduction serves three purposes. First it seeks to provide a historical and political context to recent sociological analyses of transgender. In the section titled ‘Transgender Debates: Reflections and Futures’ I frame some of the central ways in which transgender debates have developed and changed over time. I consider the different ways in which social analysis has problematised a medical understanding of gender diversity as pathological: beginning with ethnomethodology in the 1960s and ending with a discussion of the emergence of ‘transgender studies’ as a distinct field of scholarship in the late 1990s. Such theoretical considerations intersect with shifts in political and social movements around gender and sexuality. Thus I move on to address the relationship between transgender and feminist and lesbian and gay movements; looking at how trans movements have productively affected these political sites. I end this section of the introduction by considering the impact of theoretical and political developments on law and policy; addressing particularly recent legal interventions around gender recognition in the UK. Each of these areas is extensive and each deserving of full-length discussion. These themes are taken up in the subsequent chapters, which are outlined in the last part of this introduction.

In the second part of the introduction I turn my attention to ‘a sociology of transgender.’ I sketch out what sucduction provides an overview of the four parts of the book, and outlines the main themes and arguments of the forthcoming chapters.

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