Categories We Live By: The Construction of Sex, Gender, Race, and Other Social Categories

New York, USA: Oxford University Press (2018)
Authors
Ásta .
San Francisco State University
Abstract
We are women, we are men. We are refugees, single mothers, people with disabilities, and queers. We belong to social categories and they frame our actions, self-understanding, and opportunities. But what are social categories? How are they created and sustained? How does one come to belong to them? Ásta approaches these questions through analytic feminist metaphysics. Her theory of social categories centers on an answer to the question: what is it for a feature of an individual to be socially meaningful? In a careful, probing investigation, she reveals how social categories are created and sustained and demonstrates their tendency to oppress through examples from current events. To this end, she offers an account of just what social construction is and how it works in a range of examples that problematize the categories of sex, gender, and race in particular. The main idea is that social categories are conferred upon people. Ásta introduces a 'conferralist' framework in order to articulate a theory of social meaning, social construction, and most importantly, of the construction of sex, gender, race, disability, and other social categories.
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