Making a Difference

Psychology and the Construction of Gender

Rachel T. Hare-Mustin; Edited by Jeanne Marecek

View Inside Price: $26.00


January 29, 1992
228 pages, 5 1/2 x 8 1/2
ISBN: 9780300052220
Paper

Drawing on postmodernist skepticism about what we know and how we know it, and on recent developments in the philosophy of science and feminist theory, five leaders in feminist psychology offer a new perspective on the meaning of gender, one that is not determined by the traditional focus on male-female differences.
 
"These brilliant and provocative essays step back from the trees—the millions of studies of sex and gender difference, non-differences, and meta-differences—and show us instead a way through the forest: the meanings and inventions of gender in modern life. This book is must reading for psychologists, but it is so lucidly written that scholars in other fields will profit from it as well. This is a terrific book."—Carol Tavris
 
"This book deserves to be read, and reread, especially by those most resistant to feminist thought and ideology. . . . The gauge of genuine scholarship is the ability of a work to generate critical and empirical debate and to foster change. This new book does so, clearly and with power."—Choice
 
"Beautifully written and argued essays by leaders in feminist theory and research. . . . The contributors offer exciting evidence that feminist challenges to old paradigms are beginning to transform our view of a gendered landscape into a peopled one."—Nia Lane Chester, Teachers College Record

"This book . . . makes . . . significant theoretical issues accessible and relevant to the concerns and assumptions of most psychologists. . . . . Every feminist concerned with feminism and psycholoby should read [it]."—Mary Brown Parlee, Psychology of Women Quarterly

"Well-written, thoughtful, and thoughtprovoking, the book will be welcomed by all psychologists. It will also be a very valuable resource for feminists in disciplines outside psychology who will learn from the analyses where psychology has succeeded and where it has failed in providing explanations of human interactions and behaviors."—Faye Crosby

"These brilliant and provocative essays step back from the trees—the millions of studies of sex and gender difference, non-differences, and meta-differences—and show us instead a way through the forest: the meanings and inventions of gender in modern life. This book is must reading for psychologists, but it is so lucidly written that scholars in other fields will profit from it as well. This is a terrific book."—Carol Tavris, Ph.D., social psychologist and author of Anger: The Misunderstood Emotion

"In this book five leaders in feminist psychology pose new questions that go beyond current debates about how men and women differ."—Swarthmore College Bulletin

"Hare-Mustin and Marecek, along with Bernice Lott, Rhoda K. Unger, and Jill G. Morawski, have authored a series of six chapters devoted to what gender means, how feminist scholarship is advanced (and impeded), and strategies for feminist-based inquiry. All of these authors raise extremely important questions of how or if feminist research can or should be integrated into, be subordinate to, or coexist with current psychological theory and research. Hare-Mustin and Maracek introduce useful vantage points for this debate and successfully argue for newer empirical language, including alpha and beta bias, which are tendencies to exaggerate or minimize research differences, respectively. . . . This book deserves to be read, and reread, especially by those most resistant to feminist thought and ideology. . . . The gauge of genuine scholarship is the ability of a work to generate critical and empirical debate and to foster change. This new book does so, clearly and with power."—Choice

"This modest book has a profound aim: deconstructing gender. Instead of continuing to rely on categories of male and female to explore and explain behavior, we should, the authors argue, recognize that men’s and women’s roles are assigned in family life, and reflect relative position in social hierarchies."—Michael P. Nichols, Networker

"The collection of essays Making a Difference concentrates on feminism in American psychology. . . . For those curious about the current preoccupations of American academic feminists, it constitutes a valuable guide."—Liam Hudson, Times Literary Supplement

"In this important new work, Drs. Hare-Mustin and Marecek ask the question, ’How do we know what we know about gender?’ In a series of essays woven together in a meaningful way, substantial answers are offered that challenge the view of positivist/reductionistic science, as well as recent thinking in the field of feminist psychology."—Arthur G. Mones, Family Psychologist

"[A] reasoned and intellectually sound critique of the current state of feminist psychology."—Janet A. Rodgers, Readings: A Journal of Reviews and Commentary in Mental Health

"Offers a set of beautifully written and argued essays by leaders in feminist theory and research. . . . The contributors employ new epistemological perspectives to reveal the ways in which both traditional and post-modern psychological theory, research, and practice rest on socially constructed and ’gendered’ value systems. . . . A valuable resource both for psychologists and for scholars outside the discipline. It provides a highly readable and thought-provoking discussion of how the meaning of gender among psychologists has been and to some degree continues to be colored by short-sighted, socially embedded lenses. The contributors offer exciting evidence that feminist challenges to old paradigms are beginning to transform our view of a gendered landscape into a peopled one."—Nia Lane Chester, Teachers College Record

"The thoughtful, well-informed tone of the essays commends them to researchers, therapists, practitioners, and teachers who are willing to take a close look at significant changes in thought around the critical concept of gender and whether differences can, in fact, be studied."—Virginia Olesen, Journal of Mental and Nervous Disease

"This collection may be seen as a set of variations on a theme, that of sexual difference, and the ways in which it has been treated and might be treated by psychologists. . . . This is a lively and readable collection, informed not solely by the authors’ particular disciplines but also by recent debates within feminist epistemology and post-modern theorizing."—David H. J. Morgan, Journal of Gender Studies

"A very helpful guide to the pitfalls to avoid and the directions in which to proceed in the consideration of sexuality."—Rebecca Z. Solomon, American Journal of Psychiatry

"This book . . . makes . . . significant theoretical issues accessible and relevant to the concerns and assumptions of most psychologists. . . . . Every feminist concerned with feminism and psycholoby should read [it]."—Mary Brown Parlee, Psychology of Women Quarterly

"An excellent introduction to the contemporary feminist discussion about sexual/gender difference and the influence of postmodern feminist theory on feminist psychological research and theory. . . . An excellent summary of contemporary feminist postmodern theory and research."—M. Brinton Lykes, Contemporary Psychology

"An excellent summary of contemporary postmodern feminist theory and research. As such, it remains essential reading for all who seek to understand the meaning of gender at a highly sophisticated level."—Cyril M. Franks, Child & Family Behavior Therapy