9th Conference European Sociological Association

RN33 Women's and Gender Studies

2009-09-04 13:30:00 2009-09-04 15:00:00 Friday, 4 September 13:30 - 15:00 The Social and Symbolic Construction of Gender Identities - Feminity and Masculinity Building II, C4.01

Sex and Gender: innate or learned? An analysis of the interplay between biological, evolutional, psychological and social factors

This is a theoretical paper that aims to present an integrative approach of gender complex and propose pathways for empirical research that provides us with a trial and validation of this model. From a systemical and dynamical perspective, we analyze the interaction between biological, evolutional, psychological and social structures in the stratification of existent gender differences. Based on nature and nurture debate, we address gender differences in terms of genetic variance, evolutional forces as a tool of behavioral and genetic modulation, psychological features as a turning point or an order maintainer of gender roles expectancy and social instance as working on concentrating, distributing and hierarchizing those differences. We go further and present data that supports the existence of gender differences regarding the four major structures quoted before. Our hypothesis then is that since Stone Age, Cave society provided theirselves with labor division based in natural skills identified as being better performed by one sex than another. The division based in tendencies of better performance and specialized skills - nature factors - was reinforced by evolutionary processes and socially valued and organized - nurturing factors. As a result, by psychological adjustment, such as group pertain and identification, women and men go in the direction of either fulfilling social scripts or even breaking then as a response to their dissatisfaction. It is important to highlight that this process is not taken as a deterministic causation, instead, as a system-based model, we understand that the different structures involved influence each other mutually, but, on the other hand, we do assume that biology is the basis in which all this process develops and that all the possible variability and malleability is limited by biological constraints. Contributions that make up this theoretical proposal come from different fields, namely: physics, biology, genetics, psychology and sociology.