Joan W. Scott, “Gender: A Useful Category of Historical Analysis,” AHR Volume: 91, Pgs. 1053-1075
In her 1986 article: "Gender: a Useful Category of Historical Analysis," Joan Wallach Scott examines the use of the logical term "gender", its historical development, its importance, and it’s contribution to modern society. Scott describes the style in which feminist thinkers began to use the term “gender” as a key concept for describing and analyzing both ...view middle of the document...
Scott states that gender was first introduced into circulation in the writings of American feminist writers who pointed at the social origins of male vs. female characteristics and Scott emphasizes that constructive and the average nature of these distinctions. In her article, Joan W. Scott argues that the use of the concept of gender and it’s framework allowed a more complex examination of history and the understanding of different times and societies. The use of the term “gender” has offered the opportunity to reveal and expose the power structures that create the both the hierarchy between men and women and the justification of the social structure today.
Joan W. Scott criticizes some prior definitions of the term "gender" and offers her own definition of gender as an organizing principle of social relations which is based on "sex differences". This organizing principle is mainly used to mark relations of power.
Scott introduces a methodological framework for tracing, describing and understanding gender formations and the methods which establish and maintain them. She distinguishes available cultural symbols and the spread of sex differences, normal perceptions which determine the understanding of those symbols and finally the shaping of gender identities.