Barrie Thorne

Barrie Thorne

Professor Emerita
Research Interests
Gender, feminist theory, childhood, families, qualitative methods

Barrie Thorne joined the UC Berkeley faculty in 1995 with a joint appointment as Professor of Sociology and of Gender and Women's Studies. She previously held faculty appointments at Michigan State University, the University of Southern California, and the University of Oslo. Her teaching and research focus on the sociology of gender, age relations, childhoods, and families; feminist theory, and ethnographic methods. For ten years Barrie Thorneserved as the U.S. Editor of Childhood: A Global Journal of Child Research; she is also a former Vice President of the American Sociological Association and a former Chair of the A.S.A.Sections on the Sociology of Gender, and the Sociology of Children and Youth. In 2002 she received the A.S.A. Jessie Bernard Award in recognition of scholarly work that has enlarged the horizons of sociology to encompass the role of women in society. She has also received awards for teaching and mentoring. From 1998-2002 Barrie Thorne co-directed the Berkeley Center for Working Families, helping to build a feminist intellectual community researching "cultures of care" and the changing contours of family life in the context of global economic restructuring. In 2011 she was a Fellow at theCenter for Advanced Study at the Norwegian Academy of Arts and Sciences, working with an international group of scholars who focus on personal development and socio-cultural change.

Barrie Thorneis the author of Gender Play: Girls and Boys in School (Rutgers, 1993) and co-editor ofFeminist Sociology: Life Histories of a Movement(Rutgers, 1997), Rethinking the Family: Some Feminist Questions(Northeastern University Press, 1992); Language, Gender and Society(Newbury House, 1983), andLanguage and Sex: Difference and Dominance(Newbury House, 1975). Her recent ethnographic work,initially funded by the MacArthur Foundation Network on Middle Childhood, focuses on kids growing up in a mixed-income, ethnically diverse area of Oakland. Sheis on the Board of the Berkeley Faculty Associaiton and is active in the broader movement to challenge the privatization and defunding of public education.

Representative Publications


  • 1997 Feminist Sociology: Life Histories of a Movement, (ed. with Barbara Laslett), New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers Univ. Press

  • 1993 Gender Play: Girls and Boys in School, New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers Univ. Press, and Buckingham, England: Open Univ; Press.

  • 1992 Rethinking the Family: Some Feminist Questions, (revised edition), (ed. with Marilyn Yalom), Boston: Northeastern Univ. Press.

  • 1983 Language, Gender and Society (edited with Cheris Kramarae and Nancy Henley). Rowley, MA: Newbury House.

  • 1975 Language and Sex: Difference and Dominance (edited with Nancy Henley). Rowley, MA: Newbury House.

  • 1973 Education for the Professions of Medicine, Law, Theology and Social Welfare (with Everett C. Hughes and others). New York: McGraw Hill.

Published Articles and Chapters

  • 2009 “The 7 Up Films: Connecting the Personal and the Sociological,” Ethnography, 10: 327-340.

  • 2009 “Childhood: Changing and Dissonant Meanings,” International Journal of Learning and Media 1 (1)

  • 2008 “The ‘Chinese Girls’ and the ‘Pokémon Kids’: Children Constructing Difference in Urban California.” in J. Cole and D. Durham, eds., Figuring the Future: Children, Youth, and Globalization. SAR Press, pp. 73-97.

  • 2006 “How Can Feminist Sociology Sustain its Critical Edge?” Social Problems 53: 473-478.

  • 2003 “The Crisis of Care,” in N. Crouter and A. Booth, eds., Work-Family Challenges for Low-Income Parents and Their Children. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Pub., pp. 165-178.

  • 2001 “Transnational Childhoods: The Participation of Children in Processes of Family Migration,” Social Problems, 48: 572-591 (with Marjorie Faulstich Orellana, Anna Chee, and Wan Shun Eva Lam).

  • 2000 "Pick-Up Time at Oakdale Elementary School: Work and Family from the Vantage Point of Children," in R. Hertz and N. Marshall, eds., Work and Family. Univ. of California Press.

  • 2000 "A Telling Time for Women's Studies," Signs 25: 1183-1188