Generation and gender: normative and covert hierarchies

Fam Process. 1988 Mar;27(1):17-31. doi: 10.1111/j.1545-5300.1988.00017.x.


This essay argues that gender is an irreducible category of clinical observation and theorizing, as crucial to the family therapy paradigm as the concept of "generation." Gender, therefore, is not a secondary, mediating variable like race, class, or ethnicity, but, rather, a fundamental, organizing principle of all family systems. The author analyzes the history and politics of family therapy in order to explicate how gender, as a co-equal concept, was erased as a universal principle of family organization, leaving only generation. The theoretical and clinical implications of situating gender at the center of family therapy are then discussed.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Denial, Psychological
  • Family Therapy / methods*
  • Family*
  • Female
  • Gender Identity*
  • Humans
  • Identification, Psychological*
  • Male
  • Rationalization