Sociology, Economics, and Gender: Can Knowledge of the Past Contribute to a Better Future?

By Nelson, Julie A. | The American Journal of Economics and Sociology, October 2010 | Go to article overview

Sociology, Economics, and Gender: Can Knowledge of the Past Contribute to a Better Future?


Nelson, Julie A., The American Journal of Economics and Sociology


Introduction

Nicole Hollander's Sylvia comic strip periodically asks: "How well do you know your genders?" Readers are presented with two quotes, and asked to assign a gender to each. In this spirit, consider the following two excerpts from scholarly pronouncements:

   The Society shall operate as a completely disinterested, scientific
   organization ... Its main object shall be to promote studies that
   aim at the unification of the theoretical-quantitative and the
   empirical-quantitative approach to [word deleted] problems and that
   are penetrated by constructive and rigorous thinking similar to
   that which has come to dominate in the natural sciences.

   The [members of our Society] do not imagine that they are appointed
   to destroy the vocation of other investigators of [word deleted].
   They feel themselves called to represent factors in the problems of
   human association which have thus far received less than their
   share of attention. In organizing a society, they are not
   beginning, but continuing, the work of winning for those neglected
   factors the appreciation they deserve. The society makes no appeal
   for credit. It simply proposes to encourage [word deleted] inquiry
   and to await competent judgment of results.

Note, in the first quote, the bold claims to scientificity, the repetitive emphasis on quantitative analysis, and the appeal to association with the "hard" sciences. Note the strong verbs and adjectives used, and especially the quasi-sexual (from a sexist and macho-masculine viewpoint) language. It says: We're going to penetrate and dominate, too!

The second quote, in contrast, practically apologizes for existing. It says, in effect, we are really not encroaching on anyone ... we don't want to steal anyone's thunder ... we just feel that something is calling us to point it out ... we don't want too much, only what's fair ... we're not doing anything radical ... we won't expect to get any recognition for our work ... we'd just like to be supportive ... our job is to wait. It has subservience and passivity written all over it--strongly reflecting the sexist imagination of feminine sexual and social roles.

The first quote is an excerpt from the "Scope of the Society" adopted by the Econometric Society on the occasion of its founding in 1930 in Cleveland, Ohio. This statement is printed inside the cover of every issue of the Society's journal (Econometrica), and the deleted word is "economic." It was drafted by a group of 15 men (Roos 1933), and its gender is decidedly masculine. While the founders of the Econometric Society represented the mathematical vanguard of their time, the entire profession of economics has since shifted in that direction. The typical contemporary paper in the flagship journal of the American Economic Association, the American Economic Review, is now more mathematically sophisticated than anything published by the Econometric Society during the 1930s.

The second is from the editorial announcement of the formation of the American Sociological Association (then called the American Sociological Society), reporting on its first conference in Providence, Rhode Island. It appeared in 1907 in The American Journal of Sociology (American Sociological Society 1907b), the members called themselves "sociologists," and the deleted words are "society" and "sociological." (1) The ASA at this time was also a male-dominated organization. Of the seven papers published from the first conference, one was by a woman. Of the 115 names in the original list of members, only 15 clearly refer to females (American Sociological Society 1907a). (2) The excerpt quoted above seems to have been noncontroversial, at least insofar as it was reproduced by later leaders in the field without comment (Small 1916: 784-785). While the society was predominately male in sex at its founding, the gender of the passage announcing its establishment is decidedly feminine. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Sociology, Economics, and Gender: Can Knowledge of the Past Contribute to a Better Future?
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.