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Language, Gender and Sexuality

2. Constructionist Approaches

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About this Lecture


In this module, we think about constructionist approaches to gender, focusing in particular on: (i) the work of Judith Butler and the concept of performativity, i.e. the idea that identities are 'constructed' by language; (ii) the concepts of gender binarism, gender complementarity and heteronormativity; (iii) the concept of indexicality, i.e. the idea that language can 'index' (or 'point out') stereotypes about femininity and masculinity; and (iv) an example of indexicality from the work of Scott Kiesling and the language of 'frat boys' in the United States.


In this course, Dr Lucy Jones (University of Nottingham) explores language use through the lens of gender and sexuality. In the first module, we outline some of the traditional approaches to the question of why men and women use language differently. After that, we think about some of the more recent, constructionist approaches. In the third module, we explore the relationship between language and sexuality, before turning in the fourth module to think about language in relation to transgender identities. A short final module sums up the key learnings from this course, as well as providing some recommending reading.


Dr Lucy Jones is Associate Professor in Sociolinguistics at the University of Nottingham. She works in the area of language, gender and sexuality (or queer linguistics) within the broader field of sociolinguistics, and her research makes use of critical discourse analysis and sociocultural linguistics alongside feminist and queer theory.

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Jones, L. (2022, April 11). Language, Gender and Sexuality - Constructionist Approaches [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Jones, Lucy. "Language, Gender and Sexuality – Constructionist Approaches." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 11 Apr 2022,

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