Terms and concepts

Navigate easier in the field of gender studies with the help of our guide to terms and concepts in gender theory.

Do you want to refer to our glossary? Here is how you do it, example word “Othering”:
Swedish secretariat for gender research, “Othering”. https://www.genus.se/en/wordpost/othering/ (read 2017-06-21)




Binary/linear gender

The expression gender binary refers to the idea that humankind can be divided into precisely two sexes, no more and no less. Something that ...

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The term cisgender is often used in the context of how somebody’s assigned biological sex and legal gender correspond to the person’s gender...

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Class is a term that in the social sciences is used to separate people into groups based on economic and social criteria. The concept was es...

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Dichotomy, from the Greek word dikhotomos, ‘divided in two’, is used in social sciences to describe something that is divided into two oppos...

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The term discourse can be understood as a certain way of talking about and understanding the world. ‘Certain’ in this case does not refer to...

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Feminism can be understood both as an ideology focusing on equal rights, opportunities and responsibilities for all people regardless of gen...

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Functionality, functional variation and ableism

Functionality can be used to describe historical, social, cultural and material aspects of our bodies and their functions. Just like the con...

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Gender mainstreaming

Gender mainstreaming is a political strategy with an objective to integrate a gender equality perspective in all steps of all decision-makin...

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The term gender (genus) was introduced in Sweden in the 1980s in response to the growing understanding that femininities and masculinities a...

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The term hegemony stems from the Greek words for ‘to lead’ and ‘leader’ and is used in several ways in research in the social sciences. In M...

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In a heteronormative society, people need to display heterosexual attitudes and behaviour in order to comply with the norm for human sexuali...

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In simple terms, homosociality means that a certain social context is limited to, or is strongly dominated by, same-sex individuals. The con...

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Intersectionality relates to the observation that power structures based on categories such as gender, race, sexuality, functionality and cl...

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Intersex is an umbrella term for a variety of congenital conditions where a person’s chromosomes, sex glands or anatomy does not develop in ...

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In Sweden, the most common acronym used when referring to people who do not fit into the hetero- and binary gender norm is HBTQ (LGBTQ is a ...

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Norm/norm criticism

A norm signifies the ‘normal’, often implicitly acceptable behaviour in a social group. It may concern the way people look or dress, or how ...

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Othering refers to the process of defining for example non-white and female bodies as ‘the other’. Or more precisely, the concept consists o...

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Patriarchy can be understood in several ways, the most common of which is as a system where the economic, legal and political power lies wit...

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The word performativity was first used in linguistics in relation to what an utterance or expression does rather than what it means. Perform...

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The postcolonial school of thought is based on the understanding that the colonialism did not end when the areas that were colonised by the ...

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The concept of power is of central importance in gender research and other critical theory in order to understand how societies and social r...

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The queer concept  is used in order to question the notion that there are only two sexes, women and men, and that these sexes are opposites ...

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Quotas and quota systems

Quotas  and quota systems refer to an arrangement where a certain share of the spots for example in an education programme or on a company b...

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Racialisation occurs when different people, with different experiences, opinions and backgrounds are lumped into groups according to preconc...

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Situated knowledge

Situated knowledge relates to a criticism of the idea of researchers as neutral observers of reality. The expression was coined in an analys...

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Social construction

The concept of social construction was first used in the mid-1960s as part of an ambition to explain how people perceive their social realit...

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Trans person/trans

The term trans can be used as an abbreviation of trans person and then serves as an umbrella term. Trans persons violate society’s norms and...

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Whiteness as a theoretical concept is central within the discipline of critical whiteness studies. It refers for example to whiteness as a n...

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