Biological behavior artigo inc

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Biological behavior artigo inc

  1. 1. • Biological Behavior? Hormones, Psychology and Sex• Journal article by Celia Roberts; NWSA Journal, Vol. 12, 2000 Biological Behavior? Hormones, Psychology, and Sex CELIA ROBERTS Contemporary behavioral endocrinology and biological psychology claim that sex hormones play an important role in the production of sex differences in human and other animal behaviors. This article critically examines these claims, which range from simple biologically determinist arguments through to more complex attempts to theorize the connected roles of the hormonal and the social. In each case, these sciences rely on a social/biological distinction. Analyzing contemporary feminist work on the body as lived, and innovative scientific views of biologys "coaction" with the environment, it is suggested that this distinction is limiting and requires rethinking. Rather than accusing science of essentialism and rejecting the role of the biological outright, it may prove more fruitful for feminism to theorize the "interimplication" of the biological and the social in attempts to understand sex differences in behavior. Since their "discovery" early this century, sex hormones have taken a strong role in the explanation of sex differences in human and other animal behaviors ( Oudshoorn 1994). In recent times, for example, they have been held in popular scientific literature to indicate that women are better suited than men to child-rearing, and to underlie womens incapacity for certain types of work ( Moir and Jessel 1991). Within the sciences of psychology and behavioral endocrinology, sex hormones are attributed powers to produce sex differences in behaviors such as childrens play and adult sexuality. Given the political implications of such attributions, it is important that feminist responses to these sciences are complex and convincing. Whilst critiques of biological reductionism in the explanation of sex differences in human and other animal behavior are well established within feminist thought ( Bleier 1984; Fausto-Sterling 1992; Spanier 1995), I argue here that for two central reasons more specific attention needs to be paid to the positive theorization of the role of biology in the production of behavior. Firstly, on many occasions, scientists do attempt to account for the social in their work (that is, they do not provide accounts that are entirely reductionist in a biological sense); this work also needs feminist examination. Secondly, theoretical discussions within feminist thought demonstrate that it is difficult, if not impossible, to entirely dismiss the role of the biological in the production of sex differences. As I will argue, it remains inadequate (both theoretically and politically) for feminism simply to reject the biological. This paper, then, attempts to find a more complex "middle way" of approaching the biological in its powerful and -1- Questia Media America, Inc. www.questia.com

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