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Critique Nonfiction Social Sciences Theory

The Development of Transgender Studies in Sociology

By Kristen Schilt and Danya Lagos, 2017

The field of transgender studies has grown exponentially in sociology over the last decade. In this review, we track the development of this field through a critical overview of the sociological scholarship from the last 50 years. We identify two major paradigms that have characterized this research: a focus on gender deviance (1960s–1990s) and a focus on gender difference (1990s– present). We then examine three major areas of study that represent the current state of the field: research that explores the diversity of transgender people’s identities and social locations, research that examines transgen- der people’s experiences within institutional and organizational contexts, and research that presents quantitative approaches to transgender people’s identities and experiences. We conclude with an agenda for future areas of inquiry.

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