Gender Identities in a Globalized World

Barcelona, Spain | October 12-14, 2006

This experts meeting explored the possibilities and risks involved in the de-institutionalization of gender.

A salient feature of modern social structure is the massive de-institutionalization of behavior, with the result that the entire weight of defining one’s identity rests on the shoulders of each individual. Likewise, a salient feature of globalization is the availability of elements from all cultures to every individual.

We could therefore say that, from a structural point of view, the modern individual is confronted with the titanic task of defining his or her personal identity through the development of a more or less original lifestyle. This is also the case as we consider the processes leading to the definition of gender identity.

In fact, the definition of gender identity is actually one of the instances in which we can best recognize the ambivalence of the process of individualization.

On the one hand, to the extent that traditional characterizations of gender have been de-institutionalized, contemporary individuals enjoy more flexibility to develop individual ways of realizing gender identity. At the same time, however, it seems as if the traditional references once available in the social sphere are now being replaced by references provided by the media.

At the individual level, we find that neither social structure nor media-culture has the last word in matters of defining one’s identity. After all, human beings are not merely the result of the intersection of social structures; they have minds and bodies of their own. Furthermore, they develop a variety of relationships whose impact on the definition of their identity does not simply derive either from social structure or media-culture.

This experts meeting explored the possibilities and risks involved in the de-institutionalization of gender.

Principal Inquiries

·  In what sense have modernization and globalization affected the redefinition of modern identity and the proliferation of different lifestyles?
·  How have these processes influenced the de-institutionalization of gender?
·  How can we best describe and evaluate the consequences of this de-institutionalization?
·  What alternative ways have people found to develop and reinforce their gender identity? 
·  What is the role of the body and of social interaction in the definition of gender identity?
·  What is the role of family and school in the definition of gender identity of children and young people?
·  What is the role of the media? How can we measure the influence of media-culture in this regard?

Academic Leader & Moderator

Ana Marta González - University of Navarra


Christine Beasley - University of Adelaide 
Re-thinking Hegemonic Masculinity in a Globalizing World

Carol Gould - George Mason University 
Women's Human Rights in a Culturally Diverse World

Virginia Held - City University of New York  
Gender Identity and the Ethics of Care

Michael Kimmel - State University of New York, Stony Brook 
Masculinities and Globalization

Emanuela Mora -Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore 
Fashion and Masculine Identities in Globalized Italy

Lucia Ruggerone - Università della Valle d’Aosta
Bodies Between Genders: In Search of New Forms of Identity

Victor J. Seidler - Goldsmiths, University of London 
Transforming Masculinities in a Globalized World

Shelley Wilcox - San Francisco State University  
Who Pays for Cosmopolitan Gender Identities?

Melissa Moschella - Princeton University
Personal Identity: A Revised Aristotelian Approach


Ann M. Brach - National Academy of Sciences
Colin Campbell – University of York
Allan Carlson - The Howard Center for Family, Religion & Society
Paloma Durán - Universidad Complutense de Madrid
Marianne Law - Department for Trade and Industry, UK Government
Alejandro Nestor Garcia - University of Navarra
Nira Yuval-Davis - University of East London