Where the Millennials Will Take Us: A New Generation Wrestles with the Gender Structure

This talk will be an overview of a book recently published (Oxford, 2018). The talk begins with a presentation of the revision of Professor Risman’s theoretical framework for analyzing gender as a social structure. In this revision, Professor Risman differentiates between the material and cultural aspects of the gender structure as every level of analysis. She continues to distinguish between the individual, the interactional, and the macro levels of the gender structure, and the dynamic relationships between them. The data presented are based on life history interviews with a gender diverse sample of 116 American Millennials. Risman offers a typology of the different ways that young people today grapple with what gender means in their lives at the individual level of their identities but also the mixed messages they receive as to what is expected of them, and how they experience institutional rules, and adopt gendered cultural logics. The talk ends with an argument that a just society must be one that has eliminated the gender structure itself.