Sex matters

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

16 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Feminists increasingly recognize that "sex," as a reference to embodied male-female difference, is no less socially constructed than gender. Like all signifiers, the meaning of these terms is produced through contingent and particular historical processes; yet histories of how sex was made are rare. This essay draws on extensive, multidisciplinary research-focused through a lens of early (archaic) state making-to render a partial and provisional genealogy of sex. The schematic history begins with early human social formations and the "agricultural revolution" that marked a shift from food gathering to food producing. It then reviews the defining characteristics-in particular, the invention of writing-and attendant inequalities of early/archaic state-formation (urbanization; the "rise of civilization). The centralization of Greek city-states has particular, indeed profound, relevance for what is conventionally called the "western tradition. The essay then directs attention to the Athenian polis, not only because it exemplifies features of early states, but because modern interpretations of classical texts and Athenian practices uniquelyshaped European political theory/practice; in particular, by naturalizing hierarchies of gender, sexuality, ethnicity/race, class and national difference.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)389-409
Number of pages21
JournalInternational Feminist Journal of Politics
Volume16
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 3 2014

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food
theory-practice
gender
political theory
centralization
history
state formation
genealogy
invention
civilization
urbanization
sexuality
ethnicity
interpretation
Food
History
Rise
Contingent
Urbanization
Polis

Keywords

  • "the family"
  • Athenian polis
  • citizenship
  • early states
  • Heteropatriarchy
  • invention of writing
  • state making

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Gender Studies
  • Political Science and International Relations

Cite this

Sex matters. / Peterson, V Spike.

In: International Feminist Journal of Politics, Vol. 16, No. 3, 03.07.2014, p. 389-409.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Peterson, V Spike. / Sex matters. In: International Feminist Journal of Politics. 2014 ; Vol. 16, No. 3. pp. 389-409.
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