Episode 15: Gender and Social Categories / December 04, 2020

With Dr. Katharine Jenkins

Hosted by Ross Patrizio Alexandros Constantinou

Edited by Signe Emilie Eriksen

Posted in Political Philosophy Main feed Society Feminism Social Philosophy

What does it mean for a category to be socially constructed? Are we wronged when we are cast into a social category that doesn’t characterize us? How does Gender relate to all this? Dr. Katharine Jenkins, lecturer in Philosophy at the University of Glasgow, joins Ross and Alexandros to discuss these questions and many more in this episode of Thoughts.

In this episode of Thoughts, Ross and Alexandros talk to Katharine Jenkins to find out how we construct social categories and what it means for these categories to be wrongfully cast. Katharine takes us into an intellectual journey through different conceptions of womanhood finally arriving at a contextualist understanding of Gender, while sketching out the theoretical framework that we should use to understand social categories and the injustice that they can confer on us. Expanding on her two papers, Katharine explains how she started to think about social categorisations in respect to justice through a story of a Reclaim the Night march. Alexandros struggles to pronounce Amelioration and Ross inquires into the inclusive nature of definitions of Gender. Join us in this deep dive into social categorisations and the injustices that they confer on us.

01:20 – Socially Constructed Categories.

07:10 – Ontic Injustice: How injustice relates to socially constructed categories.

11:55 – Feminism in the context of Ontic Injustice.

14:10 – Reclaiming the Night.

19:00 – Fluidity and a Contextualist understanding of Gender.


Jenkins, Katharine. (2015) ‘Amelioration and Inclusion: Gender Identity and the Concept of Woman’. Ethics, 126, 394-421.

Jenkins, Katharine. (2020) ‘Ontic Injustice’. Journal of the American Philosophical Association, 2020, 185-205.

Ásta. (2018) Categories We Live By: The Construction of Sex, Gender, Race, and Other Social Categories. New York: Oxford University Press.

Dr Katharine Jenkins' Website

Dr Katharine Jenkins' Twitter