Gender is currently representing a central criterion in structuring of societies and the organization of cultural systems. Delimitative to the conception that gender offers a clear natural basis for the organization of culture, e.g. the separation of production and reproduction, gender studies in various disciplines have clarified that gender is a product of society and culture on its own. Gender is subject to historical change, shows a large variance regarding intercultural comparisons, and is complexly connected to other categories of social structuring. Gender research is now taking place in almost every cultural and social science discipline and basic approaches even already exist in natural and technical sciences.
Gender research is primarily concentrating on the interrelationship of gender and society/culture from different perspectives. It examines the structural circumstances of (re)production of inequality qua gender, the forms of socialization of individuals, and the cultural constitution of gendered subjects as well as the way how gender comes into effect in symbol and knowledge systems. This means, besides focusing on under which circumstances women and men live, express themselves, and act, gender is also employed as an analytical category when it comes to analyze the cultural interpretations of such different phenomena as aesthetics, economy, religion, architecture, engineering, or nature.
Gender, therefore, also constitutes a cross-cutting issue for various disciplines and research areas. In addition, the gender research, based on its origins in the feminist movement, also has conducted an extensive and differentiated theory and method discussion where the foundation of research for the present has been laid. The gender research cluster considers itself a pooling and productive correlation of various disciplinary perspectives.
Heidrun Zettelbauer heidrun.zettelbauer(at)uni-graz.at
Rita Perintfalvi rita.perintfalvi(at)uni-graz.at