This conceptualization of structure embeds cultural

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This conceptualization of structure embeds cultural concepts within it as the non- reflexive habituated rules, patterns, and beliefs which organize much of human life. The taken-for-granted or cognitive images that belong to the situational context (not only or necessarily to the actor’s personality) are the cultural aspect of the gender structure, the interactional expectations that each of us meet in every social encounter. Connell (1987) applied Giddens’s (1984) concern with social structure as both constrained and created by action in her treatise on gender and power (see particularly Chapter 5). In her analysis, structure constrains action, yet ‘since human action involves free invention … and is reflexive, practice can be turned against what constrains it; so structure can deliberately be the object of practice’ (Connell, 1987: 95). Action may turn against structure but can never escape it. We must pay attention both to how structure shapes individual choice and social interaction and how human agency creates, sustains, and modifies current structure. Action itself may change the immediate or future context. A theory of gender as a social structure integrates this notion of reflexive causality and cultural meanings with attention to multiple levels of analysis. Gender is deeply embedded as a basis for stratification not just in our personalities, our cultural rules, or institutions, but in all these, and in complicated ways. The gender structure differentiates opportunities and constraints based on sex category and thus has consequences on three dimensions: (1) at the individual level, for the development of gendered selves; (2) dur- ing interaction as men and women face different cultural expectations even when they fill the identical structural positions; and (3) in institutional domains where both cultural logics and explicit regulations regarding resource distribution and material goods are gender specific (see Figure 5). When we are concerned with the means by which individuals come to have a prefer- ence to do gender, we should focus on how identities are constructed through early child- hood development, explicit socialization, modeling, and adult experiences, paying close attention to the internalization of social mores. To the extent that women and men choose
Risman and Davis 745 to do gender-typical behavior across their own social roles and over the life-cycle, we must focus on such individual explanations. Indeed, much attention has already been given to gender socialization and the individualist presumptions for gender. The earliest and perhaps most commonly referred to explanations in popular culture depend on sex role training, teaching boys and girls their culturally appropriate roles. Bem (1993) writes elegantly about the enculturation that creates cultural natives, embedding the logic of essential gender differences and andocentrist beliefs as internalized aspects of young children’s selves. She suggests that gender schemas depend both on gender relations in contemporary society and the socialization practices of parents themselves. As discussed

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