Language and Gender first appeared in 1998. The opportunity to produce a third edition has been a challenge, but a very welcome one. The field has continued to be vibrant. In constant development, it has seen significant shifts since the book’s initial publication twenty years ago. The content and format of the original evolved from teaching in the 1980s and 1990s, and at the time it presented the field at its most up to date. It was certainly the first book of its kind to examine men and masculinities. If I were writing a book such as this from scratch, would I approach it differently? Yes, of course I would. I certainly wouldn’t include a chapter on masculinities focusing solely on cis-gender men, for example.
I have done for this volume is integrate new perspectives and research with
established work, which allowed me to maintain the important historical
overview. The historical perspective gives necessary background for an
understanding of more recent, theoretically challenging developments.
For the second edition I engaged with key new advances in the field, largely by producing two entirely new chapters. One of these examined gender and sexuality, focusing on heternormativity and resistance. For this new edition, I have added to it some attention to transgender in its coverage of LGBTQ issues. The other new chapter for the second edition dealt with public talk, particularly in politics and the workplace. As well as updating the chapter’s coverage generally for this new edition, I have incorporated attention to the worrying onslaught of online misogyny. Of course, many of the issues that the book addresses merit chapters – indeed books – on their own, but in this introduction to the field that would be impossible, owing to constraints of space. In an attempt to compensate for this necessarily limited coverage, I indicate sources providing greater detail in the Further Reading sections for each chapter.
Mary Talbot is an internationally acclaimed scholar who has published widely on language, gender and power, particularly in relation to media and consumer culture. The third edition of her book, Language and Gender, is now available from Polity.