Campus Climate and the Theory of Gender Performativity: Implications for Research and Policy

Campus Climate and the Theory of Gender Performativity: Implications for Research and Policy

Aaron Samuel Zimmerman, Andrew S. Herridge
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-5724-1.ch014
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The objective of this chapter is to outline the theory of gender performativity and to discuss its implications for researchers and policymakers in higher education. This chapter will examine the manner in which the measurement tools and recruitment methods utilized by research in higher education may serve to reinforce particular ontological assumptions about gender. If institutions of higher education aspire to serve their diverse student populations as inclusively as possible, it may be valuable for researchers and policymakers to consider the notion that gender is a social construct that is continually open to experimental performance.
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Campus Climate And Gender Identity

Identity development is a fundamental component of the college experience (Chickering & Reisser, 1993; Evans, Forney, Guido, Patton, & Renn, 2010; Jones & Abes, 2013; Magolda, 2009; Torres, Jones, & Renn, 2009). Having a feeling of belonging on campus has been shown to be critical to students’ identity development (Lefever, 2012; Maestas, Vaquera, & Zehr, 2007; Mallett, Mello, Wagner, Worrell, Burrow, & Andretta, 2011; Stebleton, Soria, & Huesman 2014; Strayhorn, 2012; Summer, Svinicki, Gorin, & Sullivan, 2002; Walton & Cohen, 2011). This process of identity development includes the crafting of one’s gender identity (Money & Ehrhardt, 1972; Thorne, 1993; West & Zimmerman, 1987), which is a particularly complex and fluid process for college students (Abes & Kasch, 2007; Dugan & Yurman, 2011; Jones, 2009; Nicolazzo, 2016; Rankin & Garvey, 2015). Furthermore, when college students perceive that their identity is marginalized or underrepresented on campus, they are more likely to experience stress, reduced engagement on campus, and impaired academic achievement (Mancini, 2011; Ottenritter, 2012; Sanlo, 2005; Sanlo & Espinoza, 2012; Seelman, Woodford, & Nicolazzo, 2017; Squire & Norris, 2014).

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