Gender role models... who needs 'em?!

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    This article examines the use of socialization theory in social workers' considerations of child development. The author analyses assessments of lesbians and gay men who applied to foster or adopt children, in order to demonstrate social workers' reliance upon 'gender role models'. Drawing upon feminist work, the article goes on to critique socialization theory, before outlining versions of 'gender' found in discourse theory and ethnomethodology. Using these methodologies, the author proposes that gender role theory does not describe a child development 'need', but rather constructs a particular account that is limited and conservative. The article considers the implications of this reliance upon socialization theory for lesbian and gay foster care and adoption, and instead proposes that social work should develop less restrictive accounts of gender and sexuality. © 2008 Sage Publications Los Angeles.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)43-59
    Number of pages16
    JournalQualitative Social Work
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - Mar 2008


    • Discourse
    • Ethnomethodology
    • Gender role
    • Lesbian and gay foster care and adoption
    • Social work
    • Socialization theory


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