First Advisor

Maura Kelly

Date of Publication

Winter 3-27-2018

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.) in Sociology






Sociology -- Textbooks, Feminist theory, Gender identity



Physical Description

1 online resource (v, 159 pages)


A review of sociological literature reveals a long history of the study of gender, and an increased popularity in the application of feminist theories and ideas to sociological research. As transmitters of the discipline, introductory-level textbooks have been heavily studied over the past quarter-century to assess the accuracy with which they portray the field of sociology. In order to update the literature available on the topic, this study analyzed the current cohort of top-selling, introductory-level sociology textbooks for coverage of feminist theory and gender issues. Each of the ten textbooks was read cover-to-cover and coded for both latent and manifest data using a coding sheet. The researcher found a notable increase in the incidences of both feminist theories and gender issues within the current cohort of textbooks. The specific treatment of each topic varied widely across books, and within each book the topics were presented one-dimensionally and were ghettoized to feminized chapters. Definitions of feminist theory and feminism within the books primarily described liberal feminism and little else, and discussions of both feminist theory and gender were most heavily featured in the gender and family chapters. Generally, the gender issues present in the textbook sample were mostly to do with women, and erased non-binary experiences of gender. Additionally, an intersectional approach to discussions of gender was applied about one-third of the time. This study concludes that the current textbook cohort is still far from the ideal model, and the feminization and marginalization of these topics is likely due to the textbook production cycle and the specific phenomenon of textual isomorphism.


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