Gender Relations as a Particular Form of Social Relations

The attempt by Foord and Gregson (1986) to reconceptualize ’patriarchy’ through realist methods of analysis is excellent. We find ourselves in particular agreement with their arguments concerning the superiority of the concept ’gender relations’ over ’gender roles’, and with their contention that patriarchy should be thought of as a particular form of gender relations. We also appreciate their analytical approach which identifies “sets of inter-relationships . . . between the general character of an object …its particular form and its unique, individual,instance” (p.198). We would suggest, however, that Foord and Gregson have made two analytical errors which impinge crucially on the reconceptualization towards which they move and subsequently on the focus of their prescribed research agenda.

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