KFL4055 – Gender and Society

Schedule, syllabus and examination date

Course content

How can we understand the societal and subjective dynamics involved in the reproduction of gendered inequalities, practices and subjectivities in current societies? How does gender intersect with other dimensions of power and inequality? Which forces drive gender polarization in societies, families and work organizations and which processes serve to promote processes of de-gendering and democratization? Focusing on these questions, this course presents different ways of understanding and theorizing gendered power structures, practices and subjectivities in contemporary society. The emphasis is on social theories on gender, their historical trajectories and epistemological underpinnings, as well as their divergences, explanatory potential and limitations. The course is structured around the following strands of thinking: intersectional theories of power, socialist feminist theories of exploitation of care, and theories that focus on the role of affects and emotions in the mutual shaping of society and gendered, classed and racialized selves.  

Learning outcome

The course will give an overview of key analytical tools to understand and analyse the dynamics that drive gender inequalities, practices and subjectivities in current society. You will be introduced to recent strands of thinking about these topics, and learn to identify and distinguish among different ways of understanding the relationship between gender and society. You will also learn to identify the strengths and limitations of different approaches and how those approaches relate to the diverse historical and institutional contexts in which they evolved, as well as how their strengths and limitations differ according to the research question. This will in turn provide you with enhanced analytic and reflexive skills. You will also be able to use gender perspectives to critically question and develop classical social theories and to apply these gendered perspectives in theoretical discussions and empirical studies.

 Students will:

  • become familiar with different perspectives and theories of gendered power structures, practices and subjectivities
  • be able to identify, distinguish and evaluate key theoretical approaches to gender relations and gendered selves
  • be able to recognize important strengths and limitations of these theories and how these strengths and limitations are linked to different knowledge aims
  • be able to account for the impact of historical, institutional and geographical context for the development of theories of gender
  • be able to identify, distinguish and provide dialogue between different strands of thinking
  • be able to apply these theories in conducting research on questions that are linked to gender and other dimensions of inequality in today’s society.


Students who are admitted to study programmes at UiO must each semester register which courses and exams they wish to sign up for in Studentweb.

If you are not already enrolled as a student at UiO, please see our information about admission requirements and procedures.

Recommended previous knowledge: Previous knowledge in international relations, human rights, political psychology, peace and conflict and/or gender studies will be helpful for MA students interested in taking this course.

Overlapping courses

5 credits overlap with KFL4050 – Theorising gender equality (discontinued)


Access to teaching

The course consists of 10 classes of 3 hours of teaching during the autumn semester. The teaching includes lectures and student activities.

Mandatory attendance at least 7 out of 10 times.


Compulsory activity

  • Passing  a mid-term test
  • Active participation in the assigned student activities
  • Mandatory attendance at least 7 out of 10 times


The exam will consist of: a semester assignment to be submitted at the end of the course. The assignment must have a length of  10 standard pages (a standard page consists of 2300 characters) +/- 10%. (not counting spaces) references and front page in addition.

Previous exam assignments and grading guidelines

Use of sources and citation

You should familiarize yourself with the rules that apply to the use of sources and citations. If you violate the rules, you may be suspected of cheating/attempted cheating.

Language of examination

You may write your examination paper in Norwegian, Swedish, Danish or English.

Grading scale

Grades are awarded on a scale from A to F, where A is the best grade and F is a fail. Read more about the grading system.

Explanations and appeals

Resit an examination

Special examination arrangements

Application form, deadline and requirements for special examination arrangements.

Facts about this course

Every autumn
Every autumn
Teaching language