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The Social Construction of Sex
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social construction

How to Cite

Kitchen, Deeb, and Amber Nelson. 2019. “The Social Construction of Sex”. TRAILS: Teaching Resources and Innovations Library for Sociology, October. Washington DC: American Sociological Association.


Discourse shapes how we think about the social world. It exercises power over our imaginations and allows us to recognize the world in distinct ways. As such, it can serve as a lens to reveal assumptions about what we consider normal and what is deviant. This activity utilizes students’ terminology to demonstrate how power operates through shared...

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Subject Area(s):
Resource Type(s):
Class Activity
Class Level(s):
Any Level
Class Size(s):

Usage Notes

45-60 minutes
This exercise is useful in introductory courses that acquaint students with the discipline of sociology as well as advanced classes such as those on sex, gender, and sexualities, sociological theory, qualitative research methods, or for any discussion on normalization and discursive construction. It focuses on the discursive construction...

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Learning Goals and Assessments

Learning Goal(s):

  1. 1. Identify assumptions about sex embedded in their terminology.
  2. 2. Identify particular sexual behaviors normalized in our use of language.
  3. 3.Articulate alternative discourses on sex.

Goal Assessment(s):

  1. 1: Assess students’ ability to identify assumptions contained within terminology through their written analysis of the terms collected and through discussion with the class as a whole.
  2. 2: Assess students’ ability to see taken for granted sexual behaviors through their written analysis of the terms, small group, and classroom discussions.
  3. 3: Assess students’ ability to imagine alternative ways to think about and understand sex through the discussion.

When using resources from TRAILS, please include a clear and legible citation.

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Requires Subscription DOCX

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