Deborah Cameron traces how issues related to gender (and sexuality), largely ignored in the early development of sociolinguistics, have emerged as a cornerstone of the field. Spurred on by the feminist movement and new generations of engaged scholars addressing how language use both reveals and embeds gender inequalities, scholarship on such questions is now “mainstream” across a range of disciplines. Cameron argues that the primary focus in recent decades on social identity and performance, while path-breaking in many ways, has had the unintended consequence of drawing attention away from core issues of power and patriarchy in terms of gender relations.
Deborah Cameron is the Rupert Murdoch Professor of Language and Communication at Oxford University in the United Kingdom. Since 1985, she has published numerous academic books and articles about language, gender, and sexuality; she also speaks, broadcasts, and writes on these subjects for nonacademic audiences.