Feminist method

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The feminist method is a means of conducting of scientific investigations and generating theory from an explicitly feminist standpoint. [1] Feminist methodologies are varied, but tend to have a few common aims or characteristics, including seeking to overcome biases in research, bringing about social change, displaying human diversity, and acknowledging the position of the researcher. [2] Questioning normal scientific reasoning is another form of the feminist method. [3] Each of these methods must consist of different parts including: collection of evidence, testing of theories, presentation of data, and room for rebuttals.[ citation needed ] How research is scientifically backed up affects the results. Like consciousness raising, some feminist methods affect the collective emotions of women, when things like political statistics are more of a structural result When knowledge is either constructed by experiences, or discovered, it needs to both be reliable and valid. [4] Strong feminist supporters of this are Nancy Hartsock, Hilary Rose, and finally Sandra Harding. [5] Feminist sociologists have made important contributions to this debate as they began to criticize positivism as a philosophical framework and, more specifically, its most acute methodological instrument—that of quantitative methods for its practice of detached and objective scientific research and the objectification of research subjects (Graham 1983b; Reinharz 1979). More recently, feminist scholars have argued that quantitative methods are compatible with a feminist approach, so long as they are attentive to feminist theory. [6] These methodological critiques were well placed against a backdrop of feminist scholarship struggling to find a place for alternative values within the academy. Such concerns emerged from a sense of despair and anger that knowledge, both academic and popular, was based on men’s lives, male ways of thinking, and directed toward the problems articulated by men. Dorothy Smith (1974) argued that "sociology ... has been based on and built up within the male social universe".

Feminism is a range of social movements, political movements, and ideologies that share a common goal: to define, establish, and achieve the political, economic, personal, and social equality of the sexes. Feminism incorporates the position that societies prioritize the male point of view, and that women are treated unfairly within those societies. Efforts to change that include fighting gender stereotypes and seeking to establish educational and professional opportunities for women that are equal to those for men.

Nancy Hartsock American philosopher

Nancy Hartsock was a feminist philosopher. She was known for her work in feminist epistemology and standpoint theory, especially the essay "The Feminist Standpoint", which also integrated Melanie Klein's theories on psychoanalysis and the Oedipal crisis. Her standpoint theory derived from Marxism, which claims that the proletariat has a distinctive perspective on social relations and that only this perspective reveals the truth. She drew an analogy between the industrial labor of the proletariat and the domestic labor of women to show that women can also have a distinctive standpoint.

Contents

Objectivity and the construction of the Other

Feminist methods have, in large part, been scaffolded as a rebuttal to existing research methods that operate under imperialist, racist, and patriarchal assumptions about the research subject. [7] By pointing out the biased perspectives and assumptions of researchers, feminist scholars work to elucidate the ways in which the idea of objectivity has operated merely as a stand-in for the white, male perspective, [8] and how feminist methods, in contrast, work to produce knowledge in which “the researcher appears to us not as an invisible, anonymous voice of authority, but as a real, historical individual with concrete, specific desires and interests.” [9] Also inherent in the traditional researcher-subject relationship is the subject-object relationship, for the researcher becomes the autonomous subject when they study other humans as objects, as in this case the “subject” is ironically objectified through the process of scientific investigation, which does not take into account their agency or the will of their community. [10] Subjects are also simultaneously “Othered” by Western researchers who exotify their ways of life through “a Western discourse about the Other which is supported by ‘institutions, vocabulary, scholarship, imagery, doctrines, even colonial bureaucracies and colonial styles.’” [11] Reinharz therefore posits that the destruction of the Other and the remodeling of the traditional subject-object relationship must occur simultaneously through explicit engagement with three different actors in feminist research: the researcher, the reader, and the people being studied. [12] In this way, productive, feminist methods attempt to “demystify” and “decolonize” [13] research through recognizing how traditional methods construct the Other and are cloaked in a false objectivity, and subsequently to deconstruct these narratives in order to “talk more creatively about research with particular groups and communities – women, the economically oppressed, ethnic minorities and indigenous peoples.” [14]

Questioning gender as a scientific construct

Through questioning science Anne Fausto-Sterling came up with alternatives to the concept of having only two sexes, male and female. [15] She argues that through biological development there is a possibility of having five sexes instead of two. [16] She believes there are male, female, merm (male pseudohermaphrodites, i.e. when testicular tissue is present), ferm (female pseudohermaphrodites, i.e. when ovarian tissue is present), and herm (true hermaphrodites, i.e. when both testicular and ovarian tissue is present). [17]

Anne Fausto-Sterling American sexologist

Anne Fausto-Sterling is the Nancy Duke Lewis Professor of Biology and Gender Studies at Brown University. She participates actively in the field of sexology and has written extensively on the fields of biology of gender, sexual identity, gender identity, and gender roles.

Pseudohermaphroditism is an old clinical term for an organism that is born with primary sex characteristics of one sex but develops the secondary sex characteristics that are different from what would be expected on the basis of the gonadal tissue. It can be contrasted with the term true hermaphroditism, which described a condition where testicular and ovarian tissue were present in the same individual. This language has fallen out of favor due to misconceptions and pejorative connotations associated with the terms, and also a shift to nomenclature based on genetics.

True hermaphroditism Human disease

True hermaphroditism, clinically known as ovotesticular disorder of sex development, is a medical term for an intersex condition in which an individual is born with ovarian and testicular tissue. More commonly one or both gonads is an ovotestis containing both types of tissue.

Emotion

Alison Jaggar disputes the dichotomy between reason and emotion and argues that rationality needs emotion. [18] She states emotions are normally associated with women and rationality is associated with men. [19] She also claims that there are many theories as to the origins of emotions, and in the long run listening to emotions might lead to better decisions. [20]

Alison Mary Jaggar is an American feminist philosopher born in England. She is currently College Professor of Distinction in the Philosophy and Women and Gender Studies departments at the University of Colorado, Boulder and Distinguished Research Professor at the University of Birmingham in the United Kingdom. She was one of the first people to introduce feminist concerns in to philosophy.

Related Research Articles

Research systematic study undertaken to increase knowledge

Research is "creative and systematic work undertaken to increase the stock of knowledge, including knowledge of humans, culture and society, and the use of this stock of knowledge to devise new applications." It is used to establish or confirm facts, reaffirm the results of previous work, solve new or existing problems, support theorems, or develop new theories. A research project may also be an expansion on past work in the field. Research projects can be used to develop further knowledge on a topic, or in the example of a school research project, they can be used to further a student's research prowess to prepare them for future jobs or reports. To test the validity of instruments, procedures, or experiments, research may replicate elements of prior projects or the project as a whole. The primary purposes of basic research are documentation, discovery, interpretation, or the research and development (R&D) of methods and systems for the advancement of human knowledge. Approaches to research depend on epistemologies, which vary considerably both within and between humanities and sciences. There are several forms of research: scientific, humanities, artistic, economic, social, business, marketing, practitioner research, life, technological, etc. The scientific study of research practices is known as meta-research.

In the social sciences and life sciences, a case study is a research method involving an up-close, in-depth, and detailed examination of a subject of study, as well as its related contextual conditions.

Women's studies is an academic field that draws on feminist and interdisciplinary methods in order to place women’s lives and experiences at the center of study, while examining social and cultural constructs of gender; systems of privilege and oppression; and the relationships between power and gender as they intersect with other identities and social locations such as race, sexual orientation, socio-economic class, and disability.

Filipino psychology, or Sikolohiyang Pilipino, in Filipino, is defined as the psychology rooted on the experience, ideas, and cultural orientation of the Filipinos. It is formalized in 1975 by the Pambansang Samahan sa Sikolohiyang Pilipino under the leadership of Virgilio Enriquez who is regarded by many as the Father of Filipino Psychology.

In social science, antipositivism is a theoretical stance that proposes that the social realm cannot be studied with the scientific method of investigation applied to Nature and that investigation of the social realm requires a different epistemology. Fundamental to that antipositivist epistemology is the belief that the concepts and language that researchers use in their researches shape their perceptions of the social world they are investigating, studying, and defining.

Standpoint theory is a theory found in some academic disciplines which is used for analyzing inter-subjective discourses. This body of work proposes that authority is rooted in individuals' knowledge, and the power that such authority exerts.

Participatory action research

Participatory action research (PAR) is an approach to research in communities that emphasizes participation and action. It seeks to understand the world by trying to change it, collaboratively and following reflection. PAR emphasizes collective inquiry and experimentation grounded in experience and social history. Within a PAR process, "communities of inquiry and action evolve and address questions and issues that are significant for those who participate as co-researchers". PAR contrasts with many research methods, which emphasize disinterested researchers and reproducibility of findings.

Gender binary is the classification of gender into two distinct, opposite, and disconnected forms of masculine and feminine, whether by social system or cultural belief.

Feminist political ecology is a feminist perspective on political ecology, drawing on theories from post-structuralism, feminist geography, and cultural ecology. Feminist political ecology examines the place of gender in the political ecological landscape, exploring gender as a factor in ecological and political relations. Specific areas in which feminist political ecology is focused are development, landscape, resource use, agrarian reconstruction and rural-urban transformation. Feminist political ecologists suggest gender is a crucial variable – in relation to class, race and other relevant dimensions of political ecological life – in constituting access to, control over, and knowledge of natural resources.

Unstructured interview interview in which questions are not prearranged. These non-directive interviews are considered to be the opposite of a structured interview which offers a set amount of standardized questions

An unstructured interview or non-directive interview is an interview in which questions are not prearranged. These non-directive interviews are considered to be the opposite of a structured interview which offers a set amount of standardized questions. The form of the unstructured interview varies widely, with some questions being prepared in advance in relation to a topic that the researcher or interviewer wishes to cover. They tend to be more informal and free flowing than a structured interview, much like an everyday conversation. Probing is seen to be the part of the research process that differentiates the in-depth, unstructured interview from an everyday conversation. This nature of conversation allows for spontaneity and for questions to develop during the course of the interview, which are based on the interviewees' responses. The chief feature of the unstructured interview is the idea of probe questions that are designed to be as open as possible. It is a qualitative research method and accordingly prioritizes validity and the depth of the interviewees' answers. One of the potential drawbacks is the loss of reliability, thereby making it more difficult to draw patterns among interviewees' responses in comparison to structured interviews. Unstructured interviews are used in a variety of fields and circumstances, ranging from research in social sciences, such as sociology, to college and job interviews. Fontana and Frey have identified three types of in depth, ethnographic, unstructured interviews - oral history, creative interviews, and post-modern interviews.

Feminist epistemology is an examination of epistemology from a feminist standpoint. Elizabeth S. Anderson describes feminist epistemology as being concerned with the way in which gender influences our concept of knowledge and "practices of inquiry and justification". It is generally regarded as falling under the umbrella of social epistemology.

Criticism of science

Criticism of science addresses problems within science in order to improve science as a whole and its role in society. Criticisms come from philosophy, from social movements like feminism, and from within science itself (metascience).

Linda Tuhiwai Smith New Zealand academic

Linda Tuhiwai Te Rina Smith is a professor of indigenous education at the University of Waikato in Hamilton, New Zealand. The daughter of Hirini Moko Mead, she affiliates to the Ngāti Awa and Ngāti Porou iwi.

Levi Suydam was a property-holding intersex person who lived in the 19th century. In 1843, at a local election in Salisbury, Connecticut, Suydam was presented to the town selectmen as a male property holder, the requirements for being validated as a voter. This was called into question and he was subjected to repeat examinations and questioning of his sex.

Feminist empiricism is a perspective within feminist research that combines the objectives and observations of feminism with the research methods and empiricism. Feminist empiricism is typically connected to mainstream notions of positivism. Feminist empiricism proposes that feminist theories can be objectively proven through evidence. Feminist empiricism critiques what it perceives to be inadequacies and biases within mainstream research methods, including positivism.

Feminist post-structuralist discourse analysis (FPDA) is a method of discourse analysis based on Chris Weedon's theories of feminist post-structuralism, and developed as a method of analysis by Judith Baxter in 2003. FPDA is based on a combination of feminism and post-structuralism. While it is still evolving as a methodology, FPDA has been used by a range of international scholars of gender and language to analyse texts such as: classroom discourse, teenage girls' conversation, and media representations of gender. FPDA is an approach to analysing the discourse of spoken interaction principally.

Indigenous feminism is an intersectional theory and practice of feminism that focuses on decolonization and indigenous sovereignty. The focus is upon empowering indigenous women in the context of indigenous cultural values and priorities, rather than mainstream, white, patriarchal ones. In this cultural perspective, it can be compared to womanism in the African-American communities.

Chandra Talpade Mohanty feminism and womens studies professor

Chandra Talpade Mohanty is a Distinguished Professor of Women's and Gender Studies, Sociology, and the Cultural Foundations of Education and Dean's Professor of the Humanities at Syracuse University. Mohanty, a postcolonial and transnational feminist theorist, has argued for the inclusion of a transnational approach in exploring women’s experiences across the world. She is author of Feminism Without Borders: Decolonizing Theory, Practicing Solidarity, and co-editor of Third World Women and the Politics of Feminism, Feminist Genealogies, Colonial Legacies, Democratic Futures, Feminism and War: Confronting U.S. Imperialism,, and The Sage Handbook on Identities.

Shulamit Reinharz Dutch-born American academic, sociologist

Shulamit Reinharz was the Jacob Potofsky Professor of Sociology at Brandeis University until 2017. During her tenure at Brandeis, she was director of the women's studies program from 1991 to 2001 and launched the The Scholars Program, the first graduate program to focus on Jewish women. She was the founding director of the Hadassah-Brandeis Institute in 1997 and founder and director of the Women's Studies Research Center in 2001.

References

  1. Reinharz, Shulamit; Davidman, Lynn (April 30, 1992). Feminist Methods in Social Research. New York: Oxford University Press. p. 241. ISBN   978-0-19-507386-7.
  2. Reinharz, Shulamit; Davidman, Lynn (April 30, 1992). Feminist Methods in Social Research. New York: Oxford University Press. p. 249–269. ISBN   978-0-19-507386-7.
  3. Reinharz, Shulamit; Davidman, Lynn (April 30, 1992). Feminist Methods in Social Research. New York: Oxford University Press. p. 247. ISBN   978-0-19-507386-7.
  4. Bird, Sharon. "Feminist Methods of Research". Iowa State University.
  5. Code, Lorriane. "Feminist Epistomology". Routlage Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Archived from the original on 3 May 2015. Retrieved 19 November 2011.
  6. Harnois, Catherine E. (2013). Feminist measures in survey research. Thousand Oaks: SAGE. ISBN   9781412988353. OCLC   754105745.
  7. Smith, Linda (May 10, 2012). Decolonizing Methodologies: Research and Indigenous Peoples. London: Zed Books. p. 1. ISBN   978-1-84813-950-3.
  8. Reinharz, Shulamit; Davidman, Lynn (April 30, 1992). Feminist Methods in Social Research. New York: Oxford University Press. p. 261. ISBN   978-0-19-507386-7.
  9. Harding, Sarah (January 22, 1988). Feminism and Methodology: Social Science Issues. Bloomington, Ind.: Indiana University Press. p. 9. ISBN   978-0-253-20444-8.
  10. Reinharz, Shulamit; Davidman, Lynn (April 30, 1992). Feminist Methods in Social Research. New York: Oxford University Press. p. 263. ISBN   978-0-19-507386-7.
  11. Smith, Linda (May 10, 2012). Decolonizing Methodologies: Research and Indigenous Peoples. London: Zed Books. p. 2. ISBN   978-1-84813-950-3.
  12. Reinharz, Shulamit; Davidman, Lynn (April 30, 1992). Feminist Methods in Social Research. New York: Oxford University Press. p. 258–268. ISBN   978-0-19-507386-7.
  13. Smith, Linda (May 10, 2012). Decolonizing Methodologies: Research and Indigenous Peoples. London: Zed Books. p. 17. ISBN   978-1-84813-950-3.
  14. Smith, Linda (May 10, 2012). Decolonizing Methodologies: Research and Indigenous Peoples. London: Zed Books. p. 10. ISBN   978-1-84813-950-3.
  15. Fausto-Sterling, Anne (Mar–Apr 1993). "The Five Sexes". The Sciences. 33 (2): 20–26. doi:10.1002/j.2326-1951.1993.tb03081.x.
  16. Fausto-Sterling, Anne (Mar–Apr 1993). "The Five Sexes". The Sciences. 33 (2): 20–26. doi:10.1002/j.2326-1951.1993.tb03081.x.
  17. Fausto-Sterling, Anne (Mar–Apr 1993). "The Five Sexes". The Sciences. 33 (2): 20–26. doi:10.1002/j.2326-1951.1993.tb03081.x.
  18. Jaggar, Allison (1989). "Love and knowledge: Emotion in feminist epistemology". Inquiry. 32 (2): 151–176. doi:10.1080/00201748908602185.
  19. Jaggar, Allison (1989). "Love and knowledge: Emotion in feminist epistemology". Inquiry. 32 (2): 151–176. doi:10.1080/00201748908602185.
  20. Jaggar, Allison (1989). "Love and knowledge: Emotion in feminist epistemology". Inquiry. 32 (2): 151–176. doi:10.1080/00201748908602185.