Navigating Interpretive Frameworks & Theoretical Constructs

To think relationally and constructively about these topics, it will be useful to try to grasp the defining characteristics and key debates of given theories and analytical frameworks.

Interactive Exercise - Utilizing some of the resources in this Web tutorial, find or create definitions for the following terms:


Nation States:

Below are examples of definitions as well as examples of dictionary passages in sociology, feminism, critical theory dictionaries that may assist in this process. In addition to your own readings and those provided by your instructor, looking at these will give you a sense of how one term may have several possible interpretations, indicating the debate and dialogue on any given theory, concept or term.

Globalization: has different meanings in different contexts... It has been described elsewhere as: ... a coalescence of varied transnational processes and domestic structures, allowing the economy, politics, cultures and ideology of one country to penetrate another (Mittleman, 1996,p.3).

Dominant culture: the values, symbols, means of expression,language and interests of people in power in this society (page 8)

First world: refers to North America, Western Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and Japan

Second World: includes Russia and countries of Eastern Europe Third World: Includes most of Asia, Latin America, Africa and the Caribbean

First Nations: term used by indigenous population of Australia and Americas, and New Zealand to emphasize the fact that their ancestral lands were colonized and settled by Europeans.

Fourth World: some environmentalists use the term to refer to a scattered collection of small-scale,environmentally sound projects, suggesting an alternative economic and political model.

Two-Thirds World: Some commentators use the term to draw attention to the fact that the majority of the world's population (approx. 68 percent) live in Asia, Latin America, Africa and the Caribbean.

Definitions taken from:

Women's Lives: Multicultural Perspectives, edited by Gwyn Kirk and Margo Okazawa-Rey, Mayfield Publishing Company 1998, Mountain View, CA.

"Introduction: Local Feminisms, Global Futures" by Fiona Flew, in Women's Studies International Forum, Vol. 22l, No. 4, pp. 393-403, 1999.

Gender identity - a psychological term referring to ones "core" sense of maleness or femaleness when used for legal purposes. The term is most often used in connection with transgendered people and is commonly considered to exclude those who cross dress.

Gender Role - may refer to that culturally determined cluster of behavioral patterns and attitudes that members of one or the other gender are socially expected to fulfill. The combination of everything an individual does and says to indicate to others or to self the extent to which one's gender identity is male, female, or ambivalent: the public expression of one's gender identity.

Definitions taken from:

A Descriptive Dictionary and Atlas of Sexology, Francoeur, Robert T., Editor. Westport, Connecticut: 1991.

A Concise Glossary of Feminist Theory, Andermahr, Sonya. New York: 1997.

The Advocate and the Lesbian Almanac.

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