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Lecture en ligne

The Feminization

of the Professions


La féminisation

des professions

(QL'Harmattan, 2005 ISBN: 2-7475-8540-9 EAN : 9782747585408

Knowledge, Work & Society Savoir, Travail et Société Vo13, n° 1,2005

The Feminization of the Professions / La féminisation des professions

Thematic issue edited by Mirella Giannini Dossier thématique coordonné par Mirella Giannini

L'Harmattan 5-7, rue de l'École-Polytechnique 75005 Paris FRANCE

Harmattan Konyvesbolt 1053 Budapest, Kossuth L. u. 14-16 HONGRIE

L'Harmattan Italia Via Degli Artisti 15 10214 Torino ITALIE

Knowledge. Work & Society I Savoir, Travail et Société
Editor in Chief Directeur de la publication
Charles Gadea, U.F.R. de Psychologie, Sociologie et Sciences de ]'Education, Université de Rouen, rue Lavoisier B.P. 108, 76134 Mont Saint Aignan Cedex, France. E-mail: charles.gadea@epeire.univ-rouen.fr (Contributions in French)

Julia Park, Mike 7TS,




Evetts, School of Sociology and Social Policy, University of Nottingham, University Nottingham, NG7 2RD, UK. E-mail: julia.evetts@nottingham.ac.uk Saks, Vice Chancel1or's Office, University of Lincoln, Brayford Pool, Lincoln, LN6 UK. E-mail: msaks@lincoln.ac.uk (Contributions in English)

Book Review Editor
Mike Saks, Vice Chancellor's Office, University 7TS, UK. E-mail: msaks@lincoln.ac.uk

Responsable des comptes rendus
of Lincoln, Brayford Pool, Lincoln, LN6

Editorial Assistant

Secrétaire de la rédaction

Sophie Divay, CA-Céreq de Rouen, IRED, rue Thomas Beckett, 76130 Mont-Saint-Aignan, France. tel +33 (0), fax +33 (0) E-mail: sophie.divay@univrouen.fr

Editorial Board

Comité éditorial

Steven Brint, University of California, USA Claude Dubar, Université de V ersames-Saint-Quentin-enYvelines, France Mirella Giannini, University of Napoli, Italy André Grelon, Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, Paris, France Valery Mansurov, Russian Academy of Sciences, Russia Vittorio Olgiati, University of Urbino, Italy Elianne Riska, Âbo Akademi University, Finland Arnaud Sales, Université de Montréal, Canada Rita Schepers, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium Lennart Svensson, Goteborg University, Sweden Evan Willis, La Trobe University, Australia

Knowledge, Work & Society/Savoir, Travail et Société is published by the Editions L'Harmattan, 5-7, rue de J'Ecole Polytechnique 75005 Paris, France. Tel +33 (0) Fax +33 (0) / Erreur! Signet non défini. E-mail: harmat@worldnet.fr



& Society/Savoir,


et Société est une revue

publiée par les Editions l'Harmattan, 5-7, rue de l'Ecole Polytechnique 75005 Paris, France. Tel +33 (0) Fax +33 (0) / Erreur! Signet non défini. Email: harmat@worldnet.fr Annual subscription: annuel: 50 euros for three issues in march, june and october. 50 euros pour trois numéros publiés en mars, juin et octobre.


Knowledge, Work & Society / Savoir, Travail et Société
Vo13, n° 1,2005

Introduction Mirella Giannini, Mike Saks


The Feminization

of the Professions I La féminisation des professions

Thematic issue edited by Mirella Giannini Dossier thématique coordonné par Mirella Giannini

Rationalization of Health Care and Female Professional Projects: Reconceptualizing the Role of Medicine, the State and Health Care Institutions IToma Gendered Perspective Ivy Lynn Bourgeault 25 Gender Differences: An Analysis of Work Roles and Professionalism in Public Employment Services in Italy 53 Adriana Signorelli Reasons for Work in a 'Masculine' Organization: Why Men and Women Join the Police Force (The case ofIsrael) 75 Dahlia Moore Les' scripts sexués' de carrière dans les professions juridiques en France Nicky Le Feuvre, Nathalie Lapeyre 101 Professions supérieures et genre: histoire d'une question Catherine Marry
Biographical notes / Notices biographiques

127 147 149

Book reviews / Comptes rendus d'ouvrages

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This issue of Knowledge Work & Society is based on the analysis of the feminisation of occupations and professions. This area needs to be explored further using empirical evidence. However, at the same time, the concept of feminisation can be used as a conceptual device to explain changes in gender relations and the gap between social processes and sociological theory, specifically in relation to occupations and professions. The contributors to this issue each in their own way address these themes. The Novelty of the Feminization In general terms, women' s participation in the labour force has been increasing in Western societies since the 1970s and in recent times it has been running at a much faster rate than men's. This upward trend has been paralleled by the rapidly growing level of education amongst women, not least in the field of the professions (see, for example, Walby, 1997). Statistics also show that the more specific gender-based constitution of the labour force is changing, even if they obscure the fact that many women experience flexible jobs and difficulties in reconciling work and family duties - as well as facing lower relative pay and career obstacles, including the so-called glass ceiling as regards positions with power and control. Although some caution is indeed in order about the extent of these trends in feminisation (Bradley et al., 2000), the real novelty is that feminisation is helping to overcome the dualism which distinguished jobs for women and for men. Particularly at the time of the development of the Welfare State, it was legitimate for women to fill jobs that were based on relations in the home. However, over the last 35 years heterogeneous middle-class women are entering classic male professions and many female jobs are becoming professionalised, mainly as a result ofnegotiations to gain public legitimacy.


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Gender Differentiation in Modern Society and the "Grand Old Men" of Sociology This vogue for the feminisation of professions, though, marks a social change which strongly impacts upon the masculine model that the historical pact between middle-class ideologies and industrialisation produced as a new ordering of gendered relations (Haywood and Mac an Ghaill, 2003). It is known that this was a pact to typify work and profession as gender neutral. In reality, it was hiding a gendered relation and providing a separation between the public-culture-work-masculine and the private-nature-home-feminine spheres (Acker, 1992). This pact exalted the "differentiation" of social experiences for women and men of the nineteenth century bourgeoisie throughout Europe, which in many cases was considerable - whilst women and men outside this class often worked in similar conditions of hardship and poverty. It was this pact to which Virginia Woolf (1963, o.v.1938) referred in the denunciation of the different conditions of sons and daughters of "cultivated men". That pact, which was sustained over the nineteenth century as a cultural and theoretical construction, has recently been questioned. It is argued, specifically, that the "differentiation" of women's and men's social experiences was the empirical basis for "the Grand Old Men" of sociology, Durkheim, Marx and Weber. They assumed this feature of a "cultivated" society, which was a backward-looking one (Evans, 2003). Durkheim saw the State as calling the individual to a moral way of life and playing a gendered role in respect to public economic and political life. As women were not ideally a part of the public world of politics and work, for Durkheim the role of the State was to preserve marriage and family life for which their natural specialisation fitted them. Weber's writings have been considered to be marked by an "invisible woman" (Tyrell, 1992), or "gender neutral", so the Puritan appears as "a professional" whose rational style of life can only be imagined as "forced masculinity" (Mülder-Bach, 1987). Weber saw the striving by women for emancipation and individualisation as a part of the social process of rationalisation and questioned the formal closure of the family as a source of certain darkly imagined irrational values (Gerhard, 2004). Even Simmel, who engaged in debates with the women's movement and worked with a concept of difference that was deeply encoded by a masculine dimension of the social, considered women as a group that had not been either infected or affected by the destructive features of modem culture (Wobbe, 2004).

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Social and Gender De-differentiation in Sociological Theories The entry of women into lifelong patterns of employment is clearly significant and this obscures the social differentiation founded on the distinction between the public sphere as a men's realm and the private sphere as a women's realm. The processes of inclusion of women in male-coded professions and the professionalisation of female-coded jobs mine theoretical and institutional canons at the basis of the classic analysis of society. The sociological question concerns social and gender


Post-modem society is considered by many authors to tend towards social de-differentiation. In the information and knowledge society, particularly in recent years, a new set of social relations showing no differences between classes, gender and even national cultures is seen to be arising. Lash (1990) is among those who have proposed that the social world of the late twentieth and twenty-first century is fundamentally and qualitatively different from that of the early and middle twentieth century. In this new world, definitions of boundaries and communities have changed. This approach sees agencies of male and female socialisation as "disembedded" from social relations and raises the possibility of androgyny (see Giddens, 1992; Butler, 1998). When the social world can abandon "men" and "women" in favour of "people", the argument goes, the contradictions will disappear, as will the economic inequalities that arise from gender. This prophecy is far from being achieved. When social and gender dedifferentiation is analysed, based on the ideas of Marx and Weber, both men and women are seen to be capable of integrating socially produced values into their understanding and consequently into their behaviour. Drawing on the Weberian integrative force of the capitalist ethic - against Giddens - it is noted that women and men have become rather less the agents of the new democracy and rather more the products of a pervasive ethic of work and contract. The new world is therefore not so much based on the feminist assumption of male power and female subordination, as a greater integration of more people into the values of late capitalism (Evans,2003). As can be seen, theoretical canons are evolving and theories of society are altered by the discussion of gender and gender relations in the social world. However, looking at the social world, institutional canons show

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much less evolution. Women have tended to move into those areas of professional and managerial employment where they were able to exercise high levels of skill and expertise, but had little effective organisational discretion. And, whilst women are increasingly gaining entry to jobs demanding high levels of expertise, they are rarely translating these into jobs with high levels of authority and organisational power (Savage, 1992). The Feminization of Professions and Sociological Theories In the recent sociology of professions, the dominant analysis of current society focuses on the increasing managerialism and neo-liberalism in all sectors of society. Professionalism is defmed as a set of interconnected institutions providing the economic support that sustains the occupational control of work. Professions are also seen as organised as social groups with high-level skills and knowledge, autonomy and moral authority. Their ethical code in theory too helps them to serve society in an altruistic way. Therefore, given diverse shifts from the ideal-type of professional, current managerialism and neo-liberalism are seen as mining the "logic" of professionalism, as well as professional institutions and ethics (Freidson 2001; Svensson, 2003). If the ideal typical expert seems to be in decline, in reality a new professional more sensitive to the social and cultural demands of a service-oriented society is arising. In many recent analyses, it is argued that social and economic changes affect the gender dimension. On the one hand, women seem to be more inclined to apply professional ethics based upon altruistic service to society (Verpraet, 2003), coming back to the original Durkheimian nature of professions (Gadea, 2002). On the other, women seem to throw into the melting pot classical professional characteristics, such as "formal knowledge" and "autonomy", being more sensitive to new social contexts (Kuhlmann, 2004). In effect, many sociologists have found that the increasing number of women moving into professions shake the concept of the established, generally maledominated, professions (Giannini and Minardi, 1998; Giannini, 2003; Tousijn, 1998). To sustain this argument, it is noted that "formal knowledge" serves to maintain the autonomy, status and dominance of such established professions, whereas "everyday skills" and sensitivity to emerging social demands tends to figure more strongly in predominantly female occupations often termed semi-professions. The model of autonomous experts controlled only by professional institutions is

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relatively insensitive to social contexts - such as the changing organisational structure - and fails to grasp adequately the relationship between professions and their cooperation with other occupational groups. Women's jobs, on the contrary, tend to be characterised by greater responsiveness to new social requirements, as well as greater cooperation with professions and other occupational groups (Kuhlmann, 2004). The classic concept of professional autonomy is in fact problematised by the application by Johnson (1995) of Foucault's concept of governmentality based on the interdependence between professions and the State. In addition, recent occupational transformations have opened up the dialogue about the new characteristics of professionalism (see, for instance, Allsop, 1995; Evetts, 1999, 2003; Tousijn, 1998, 2003). The institutionalisation of the boundaries of professional communities has also been challenged - as Saks (2003) has observed, authors in the dominant neo-Weberian orthodoxy do not always appropriately encompass the emergence of new and alternative professions in their work. The feminisation of professions has therefore placed under discussion the classic model of a profession. The gap between theory and reality becomes especially evident when women increasingly enter established professions, but the theories about them continue to be based on male actors, "free-floating" and independent of social commitments and interests outside of the professions (Kuhlmann 2004). This discussion has hopefully helped to make the sociology of professions more sensitive to gender relations, which is very important - not least because so many sociologists are women today. Contributions to the Special Issue In sociological analysis, it is easier to notice signs of changes in the classic model of profession when the focus is either on professions where female-coded profiles undergo successful professionalisation processes or public regulation legitimates new, generally feminised, practices relating to professions. It is more difficult to highlight gendered practices in organisations, where women seem to be more inclined to engage in teamwork and interdisciplinary problem-solving, in opposition to the classic behaviour of professionals. In this special issue of Knowledge Work and Society the selection of the papers is not so ambitious as to include all the arguments about the feminisation of professions. However, the female sociologists involved in this issue offer a variety of

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contributions linked to the themes outlined above, so that the Introduction serves as a theoretical frame for their work.

Of these contributors, Ivy Lynn Bourgeault and Adriana Signorelli, basing their studies on different analytical methodologies and professional fields, as well as national cultures, highlight the role of the State in providing space for the legitimacy of a process of female-coded professionalisation. Dahlia Moore shows through her analysis of the police force how in organisations that are constructed for men, women are inserting different values, motivations and career. Her work is opposed to theories of androgyny in a de-differentiated society, as well as theories of both men's and women's integration into Calvinistic values. The effect is to enable the consideration of the experience of motherhood, caring for children and family duties in which women are engaged, even when they are undertaking life long, full-time professional work. This is described by Nicky Le Feuvre and Nathalie Lapeyre in their contribution on lawyers. Finally, the review by Catherine Marry claims that there are still theoretical difficulties in including gender dimensions in the French sociological analysis of professional groups, as well as contradictions in accepting women into high-level professions. Mirella Giannini Facoltà di Sociologia Università Federico II di Napoli Vico Monte della Pietà, I I-80138-Napoli E-mail: marjada@tin.it Mike Saks Pro Vice Chancellor University of Lincoln, UK Brayford Pool Lincoln LN6 7TS E-mail: msaks@lincoln.ac.uk April 2005

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References Acker, J. (1992) 'Gendering Organizational Theory', in A. Mills and P. Tancredi (eds) Gendering Organizational Analysis. Newbury Park, C.A.: Sage. Allsop, J. (1995) 'Shifting Spheres of Opportunity: The Professional Powers of General Practitioners within the British National Health Service', in T. Johnson, G. Larkin and M. Saks (eds) Health Professions and the State in Europe. London/New York: Routledge. Bradley, H., Erickson, M., Stephenson, C. and Williams, S., eds (2000) Myths at Work. Cambridge: Polity Press. Butler, J. (1998) 'Merely Cultural', New Left Review 227, JanuaryFebruary. Evans, M. (2003) Gender and Social Theory. Buckingham/Philadelphia: Open University Press. Evetts, J. (1999) 'Professions: Changes and Continuities', International Review of Sociology 9( 1). Evetts, J. (2003) 'The Sociological Analysis of Professionalism. Occupational Change in the Modem World', International Review of Sociology 18(2). Freidson, E. (2001) Professionalism. The Third Logic. Cambridge: Polity Press. Gadea, C. (2002) 'La liberalità delle libere professioni: una questione di genere?', in M. Malatesta (ed) Corpi e professioni tra passato efuturo. Milano: Giuffté. Gerhard, U. (2004) 'Illegitimate Daughters: The Relationship between Feminism and Sociology', in L.E. Marshall and A.M. Witz (eds) Engendering the Social. GlasgowlNew York: Open University Press. Giannini, M. (2003) 'Critica del professionalismo', Economia & Lavoro XXVII(3). Giannini, M. and Minardi, E., eds (1998) I gruppi professionali. Milano: Angeli. Giddens, A. (1992) The Transformation of Intimacy. Cambridge: Polity Press. Haywood, C. and Mac an Ghaill, M. (2003) Men and Masculinities. Buckingham/Philadelphia: Open University Press. Johnson, T. (1995) 'Govemmentality and the Institutionalization of Expertise', in T. Johnson, G. Larkin and M. Saks (eds) Health Professions and the State in Europe. London: Routledge.


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KuWmann, E. (2004) 'Post-Modem Times for Professions: The Fall of the "Ideal Professional" and its Challenges to Theory', Knowledge, Work and Society 2(2). Lash, S. (1990) The Sociology of Postmodernism. London: Routledge. Mülder-Bach, 1. (1987) 'Weibliche Kultur and Stahlhartes Gehause. Zur Thematisierung des Geschlechterverhaltnisses in den Soziologen Georg Simmels und Max Webers', in S. Anselm and B. Beck (eds) Triumph und Scheitern in der Metropole. Berlin: Reimer. Saks, M. (2003) 'The Limitations of the Anglo-American Sociology of the Professions: A Critique of the Current Neo-Weberian Orthodoxy', Knowledge, Work and Society 1(1). Savage, M. (1992) 'Women's Expertise, Men's Authority', in M. Savage and A.M. Witz (eds) Gender and Bureaucracy. Oxford: Blackwell. Svensson, L. (2003) 'Nuovi contesti per il controllo e la fiducia nel professionalismo', Economia & Lavoro XXVII(3). Tousijn, W. (1998) 'Lo spazio occupazionale della professione infermieristica: una prospettiva storico-comparativa', in M. Giannini and E. Minardi (eds) J gruppi professionali. Milano: Angeli. Tousijn, W. (2003) 'Le professioni sanitarie: per un rinnovamento della logica professionale', Economia & Lavoro XXVII(3). Tyrell, H. (1992) 'UnterschatztlÜberschatzt', Ethik und Sozialwissenschaften. Streitforum für Erwiigungskultur 3. Verpraet, G. (2003) 'Il coinvolgimento sociale delle professioni deI Welfare State', Economia & Lavoro XXVII(3). Walby, S. (1997) Gender Transformations. London: Routledge. Wobbe, T. (2004) 'Elective Affinities: George Simmel and Marianne Weber on Gender and Modernity', in L.E. Marshall and A.M. Witz (eds) Engendering the Social. GlasgowlNew York: Open University Press. Woolf, V. (1963) Three Guineas. London/New York: Harvest/HBJ.

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L'objet de ce numéro spécial de Savoir, Travail et Société est la féminisation des emplois et des professions. Il reste beaucoup de recherches et de travaux de terrain à faire en ce domaine, mais il est clair que la notion de féminisation est chargée d'importants enjeux à la fois conceptuels et sociétaux. Elle peut à la fois s'articuler à l'émergence de nouvelles théorisations et aider à mesurer les écarts entre les échafaudages théoriques et les processus sociaux réels. Les contributions présentées abordent, chacune à sa façon, divers aspects de ces questionnements. Le caractère novateur de la féminisation De manière générale, le taux d'activité des femmes a augmenté dès les années 1970 dans les sociétés occidentales, et sa progression dans les années récentes est nettement plus rapide que celle du taux masculin. Cette montée de l'activité féminine s'est effectuée parallèlement à la forte augmentation du niveau d'études des femmes, notamment celles qui exercent des métiers hautement qualifiés (voir, par exemple, Walby, 1997). Les statistiques montrent aussi que la structure sexuée de la population active ne cesse de se transformer, même si elles masquent le fait que beaucoup de femmes sont concernées par le travail flexible. En outre, les femmes doivent cumuler les tâches familiales et professionnelles, elles perçoivent un salaire relatif inférieur à celui des hommes et elles rencontrent des obstacles spécifiques au cours de leur carrière, se heurtant notamment au «plafond de verre» qui barre l'accès aux postes de pouvoir et de commandement. Ainsi, même si la portée de ce mouvement de féminisation et de ses effets ne peut être estimée sans précautions, (Bradley et al., 2000), on peut considérer qu'il introduit un vrai changement dans la mesure où il contribue de manière décisive au dépassement du dualisme qui opposait les métiers des femmes et ceux des hommes. A l'époque, pas très lointaine, du développement de l'Etat Providence, il était légitime pour les femmes d'occuper des emplois qui restaient proches de la sphère domestique, alors que depuis environ 35

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ans, des femmes des divers horizons de la classe moyenne investissent des professions masculines classiques et un certain nombre de métiers féminins ont progressivement obtenu d'être mieux reconnus. La différenciation de genre dans la société moderne et les «pères fondateurs» de la sociologie Cette tendance à la féminisation des professions est caractéristique d'un changement social qui a, bien sûr, un grand impact sur le modèle du travail masculin que le pacte historique entre les idéologies de la classe moyenne et l'industrialisation a produit au siècle dernier comme un nouvel ordre des rapports sociaux de genre (Haywood & Mac an GhaiIl, 2003). Comme on le sait, ce pacte a servi à construire une catégorisation du travail et de la profession qui se présente comme neutre par rapport à l'appartenance de genre, alors qu'en réalité, elle cache leur caractère sexué et entretient la séparation entre la sphère du «public-culturetravail-masculin» et celle du «privé-nature-maison-féminin» (Acker, 1992). Ce pacte exaltait également la «différenciation» des expériences sociales données à vivre aux femmes et aux hommes de la bourgeoisie européenne du dix-neuvième siècle, une différenciation qui pouvait être énorme dans cette classe, tandis que les femmes et les hommes des autres classes partageaient bien souvent les mêmes conditions de détresse et de pauvreté. C'est à ce «pacte» que Virginia Woolf (1977, o.v.1938) se référait lorsqu'elle dénonçait la manière différenciée dont on élevait les garçons et les filles des « hommes cultivés ». Respecté tout au long du dix-neuvième siècle en tant qu'institution culturelle et théorique, ce « pacte» n'a été que récemment remis en question. Les grands ancêtres fondateurs de la sociologie, Marx, Durkheim, Weber, tenaient pour acquise cette « différenciation» de l'expérience sociale des hommes et des femmes, ils participaient de cette société « cultivée» de leur époque qui était en fait simplement rétrograde (Evans, 2003). Pour Durkheim, l'Etat était une institution qui structurait la vie morale des individus et qui jouait un rôle sexué en ce qui concerne la vie économique et politique publique. Comme les femmes, en principe, ne faisaient pas partie du monde public de la politique et du travail, pour Durkheim, le rôle de l'Etat était de préserver le mariage et la vie familiale, auxquelles les destinait leur nature. Les textes de Weber ont pu être considérés comme marqués par l'invisibilité des femmes (Tyrell, 1992) ou par la neutralisation du genre, de la même manière que le puritain apparaît comme un «professionnel» dont le style rationnel de

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vie n'est imaginable qu'en tant que « masculinité forcée» (Mülder-Bach, 1987). Weber considérait les luttes menées par les femmes pour atteindre leur émancipation et leur individualisation comme un aspect du processus de rationalisation. Il voyait dans la clôture formelle de la famille la source de certaines valeurs irrationnelles et obscurantistes (Gerhard, 2004). Même Simmel, qui avait engagé le débat avec le mouvement des femmes, et qui faisait intervenir dans son travail l'idée que la différence des sexes était profondément encodée par la dimension masculine du social, considérait les femmes comme un groupe qui n'avait été ni infecté, ni affecté par les traits destructifs de la culture moderne (Wobbe, 2004). La dé-différenciation sociale et de genre dans les théories sociologiques L'entrée des femmes sur le marché du travail à l'échelle de toute leur vie active constitue un phénomène significatif qui brouille la différenciation sociale fondée sur la distinction entre la sphère publique masculine et la sphère privée féminine. Le processus d'insertion des femmes dans les professions masculines et la professionnalisation des métiers féminins a pour effet de saper les fondements théoriques et institutionnels sur lesquels reposent les analyses classiques de la société. Le problème sociologique en question est celui de la «dé-différenciation» sociale et de geme. De nombreux auteurs pensent que la société post-moderne s'achemine vers la dé-différenciation sociale. Dans la société de l'information et de la connaissance, notamment pendant ces dernières années, ils constatent l'émergence d'un nouveau type de relations sociales qui n'exprime aucune différence entre les classes, les gemes et même les cultures nationales. Par exemple, selon Lash (1990) le monde social de la fin du vingtième et du vingt-et-unième siècle est fondamentalement et qualitativement différent de celui du début et du milieu du vingtième siècle. Dans ce nouveau monde, les définitions des frontières et des communautés ont changé. Cette approche analyse les instances de socialisation féminine et masculine comme « désencastrées » des relations sociales, elle envisage l'éventualité d'une société articulée sur l'androgynie (voir Giddens, 1992 ; Butler, 1998). Dans la mesure où le monde social peut abandonner les catégories d'« hommes» et de « femmes» pour parler simplement de «personnes », les contradictions pourraient disparaître et, toujours selon cette perspective, ce processus