Electronic Theses and Dissertations


Taking Parties Seriously: Gendered Sexuality and Hook Up Culture at Greek Social Events

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

M.A. in Sociology

First Advisor

Kirsten Dellinger

Second Advisor

Minjoo Oh

Third Advisor

Ross Haenfler


This thesis is a qualitative sociological analysis of gender and sexuality at Greek parties and in the broader Greek system in order to better understand hooking up and rape culture. While past work on rape culture has tended to look at fraternities as isolated organizations (Boswell and Spade 1996, Sanday 1990), this research takes into consideration that sororities and fraternities are constantly interacting within the Greek system and therefore must be analyzed together. I interviewed 14 sorority and fraternity members in order to uncover how Greek members interpret the behaviors, norms, and interactions at organized parties and in the broader Greek system. The sorority and fraternity members made distinctions between the types of parties that Greek organizations host. Most notably, there was a difference in how members talked about the date-centered parties versus the non-date parties. This research highlights the importance of understanding the party environment in which both hooking up and rape can occur. Sociological discussions that make generalized claims about collegiate parties overlook the significance of how different parties may create different experiences for those who attend them.

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