How are sex, gender and health interwoven? Theoretical development in a Northern European context


Gender theories from the humanities and social sciences are important contributions to gender research in health, but lack robust theorisation about health. While most feminist researchers today agree about the need to analyse both ‘sex’ and ‘gender’ there is a dearth of research on how ‘sex’ and ‘gender’ are interwoven. The purpose of this project is to develop theories of how sex/gender and health are interwoven in a Northern European context.

The research questions are:

• How can we move beyond a dichotomous view of the concepts of “sex” and “gender”?
• How are sex/gender interwoven with health, focusing on e.g. gender constructions, gender relations, life conditions, bodily experiences, stress and biological markers?
• Is the interweaving of sex/ gender with health related to intersectional power dimensions related to age, class, ethnicity and sexuality?

Our theoretical points of departures are a combination of social constructivism and materialist feminism. Theory building will be undertaken in a double theorizing process carried out through two different but parallel approaches: analyses of theoretical texts (step 1) and theoretical development through empirical analyses of diverse samples (step 2). These two processes will deliver partial knowledge which will be concurrently linked together and finally integrated at key junctures of theorisation. The project aims to make contributions to both the feminist literature as well as to the field of health.

Research Starts: 1st October 2012
Research Ends: 30th September 2016


Ellen Annandale is working on the project with Anne Hammarström (PI) and colleagues at Umeå University in Sweden.

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Contact details

Prof. Ellen Annandale
Head of Department
Department of Sociology
University of York
North Yorkshire
YO10 5DD

Tel: work 01904 324561