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Changing Cultural Pathways through Gender Role and Sexual Development: A Theoretical Framework


Greenfield's theory linking sociodemographic change to dynamic cultural values for family interdependence versus individual independence is applied to sexual and gender role socialization and development. The theory explains how cultural pathways for sexual and gender-role development transform in concert with sociodemographic changes: urbanization, formal schooling, capitalism, and communication technologies. As environments become more urban, commercial, and technological, with more opportunities for formal education, sexual development moves away from the ideals of procreation and family responsibility and toward the ideals of personal pleasure and personal responsibility. At the same time, gender-role development moves away from the ideals of complementary and ascribed gender roles and toward chosen and equal gender roles. We present psychological, anthropological, and sociological evidence for these trends in a variety of communities undergoing social and ecological change. © 2014 by the American Anthropological Association.

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