Discuss the Bisoocial Approach

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Outline and evaluate the biosocial theory of gender development. 8 + 16 marks The Biosocial theory suggests that the interaction between biological and social factors influences the development of a child’s gender. The sex of a child is determined, but the social and cultural influences upon that child lead to gender role behaviour and gender identity. When a baby is being developed in the uterus, the maternal hormones and genes determines whether that child is going to have male or female genitals/characteristics, however from birth onwards, social factors also begin to play an important part. It begins when a child is born; at this stage a child is labelled a boy or a girl and can have all sorts of influences of how the baby is treated (e.g. we commonly dress boys in blue and girls in pink). Money and Ehrhart proposed that social labelling and differential treatment of boys and girls can lead to different paths of socialisation, however this varies depending of the cultural views of masculinity and femininity (e.g. some cultures have gender expectations, stereotypically males must play with cars and action figures whereas girls have to play will dolls, however some cultures do not label activities so stereotypically.) Social constructionist theory suggests the concepts of gender are not natural but made/constructed within a particular time and place through language. Western societies base the idea of gender is constructed by dividing people into two categories on the basis of their biological sex (male and female) and assuming males equals masculine and females equal feminine. The construction of gender differs across time and culture. Mac and Ghaill (1996) identified a range of different masculinities adapted by men. They distinguish four sub-cultures in British schools: Academic achievers, Macho lads (rejected formal schooling), New entrepreneurs
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