They are all 'doing gender' but are they are all passing? A case study of the appropriation of a sociological concept

Rebecca Wickes, Michael Emmison

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)


The concept of 'doing gender' was placed on the sociological agenda by b41West and Zimmerman. In their seminal paper published in 1987, they provided a systematic theory of gender as a routine and ongoing process and outlined a distinctly ethnomethodological approach to investigating how gender is enacted, understood and rendered accountable. West and Zimmerman's notion of 'doing gender' has subsequently become a central concept in many fields of sociological research, however, upon closer examination although many authors claim to be using the concept - in effect to be doing 'doing gender' - the concept's intellectual roots in ethnomethodology are not always recognised or reflected: in short not all are passing. The purpose of our study is to explore the career trajectory of this concept and to systematically assess the manner in which 'doing' has been employed. From a review of 226 journal articles, books, dissertations and association papers, we provide an overview of the uses of this construct and examine the ways in which 'doing gender' has been assimilated into current theoretical and methodological practice.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)311-330
Number of pages20
JournalSociological Review
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2007

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