Call for Papers: Classifying people: From gender and age to zodiac signs and personality types

Extended deadline for manuscript submission: November 1st, 2016

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We routinely treat people as representatives of certain categories, bearing their typical traits even if diverging in significant ways. There are many classifications of people available to describe a person – from gender categories, generations and age groups, professions, to complex yet para-scientific typologies such as zodiac signs, and scientifically constructed classes such as personality or other psychologically-defined types.

We invite researchers to explore how we create types of people, modify them and use them in interaction. Possible research questions include the following, and any other related topics:

  1. What are the current representations of gender and age categories in various media – from textbooks to ads, movies, music videoclips, cartoons, graphic novels, or computer games? How are they influenced by medium and genre conventions?
  2. How are gender and age classifications changing in different societies and settings, including online arenas? Where can we see change and where can we see persistence?
  3. How are various institutions working with classifications of people – that is, how are such classifications interlinked with social practices that take into account these types of humans to apply differential treatment? For example, how is gender as a social institution shaping practices in education, human resources & employment, intimacy or family life? What about age? How are personality types and personality tests shaping recruitment in various industries? How are children classified in schools, and to what effects?
  4. What about less common classifications? How are zodiac signs relevant in the daily lives of people who care about them? How are classifications of people shaping diagnosis and treatment in homeopathic medicine?
  5. How is population ageing changing the way we classify people in age groups and the representations of various age-based categories? What is the diversity of portrayals of the elderly in various media and genres? How do generational classifications (from the Lost Generation to Generation X, Gen Y or Millenials, or Generation Alpha) shape creative industries and marketing?
  6. How are certain categories of people changing shape or visibility through professional or self-diagnosis of psychological conditions, such as depression, anxiety disorders, ADHD, and autism, or categories of (dis)abilities in eyesight, reading, hearing, speech, or memory?
  7. How do people define and manage category boundaries, their strictness or permeability? What are the theories that underlie classifications? For example, what is the role of biology or even genetic determinism in understanding gender, age-based or psychologically-defined types of people?
  8. What is the role of objects in expressing, denying or modifying one’s relation with a category of people? How is gender or age expressed through clothing, toys, or access to technology? How are psychological conditions interlinked with medication regimes? How are types of people re-affirmed through material representations in texts or illustrations, in daily life or scientific settings?
  9. What is the role of science and technology in producing, refuting and modifying classifications of people?
  10. Last but not least, how is technology reshaping the generation, use and change in types of people? For example, how are gender & age related to the use and creation of digital technologies? How are people classified into personality or behavioral types based on their online traces?