onsdag 9 april 2014

Feminism and science - The feminist standpoint (Theory of Science for the Social Sciences [SIMM23] - Task 4)

The original formulation of feminist standpoint theory rest on two assumptions: that all knowledge is located and situated, and that on location, that of the standpoint of the women, is privileged because it provides a vantage point that reveals the truth of social reality.” (Hekman 1997:349)
I would say that there is disagreement within the feminist perspective, as to whether feminist theories are part of realism or post-modern constructivism (Hekman 1997:341-342). Based on feminism's own perspective, the feminist standpoint, is the basic assumption that there is the power imbalance, that woman is oppressed by the man, an objective truth, or rather, it requires that it is an objective truth if it is supposed to be worth fighting against patriarchy (Hekman 1997:348) – thus it has an element of realism. One problem with such an approach is that feminism's protagonist, the woman, in contrast to the concept of class, is cross-border, the woman is thus in several groups. It thus becomes difficult to say that all women are alike, because there are so many differences among women (Harding 1983:320-321).

On the other hand it is said that the power imbalance and the different possible positions of power between the sexes is constructed in a social context (Harding 1983:311-313; Hekman 1997:343) – thus it has an element of constructivism . The feminist standpoint, which among other things means that you want to change the social structures, replacing one worldview with another better worldview, is also a constructivist way of thinking.

Thus I would say that there are traits of both realism and post-modern constructivism in the feministic standpoint, and that there is no uniform view of how the feminist perspective should act in their role in the academic world of science .

Just as Harding (1997) argues there is a problem with the feminist standpoint as soon as a group is trying to emphasize that a particular interpretation is correct (Harding 1997:389). The question is which feminist standpoint-phalanx that should set the agenda for a mutual feminist standpoint. Another question is whether this approach is transferable to other cultures.

If you want to get away from social cleavage and subjective social diversity, and claim to possess an objective truth, then there is a risk of becoming an oppressor yourself. Couse even if femninsit knowlegde i ”situated knowledge” (Haraway 1988:581), the question about where this knowledge is situated remains, is this a general situation for all women?

Haraway, Donna. (1988). Situated knowledges: The science question in feminism and the privilege of partial perspective. Feminist studies 14 (3), 575-599.

Harding, Sandra. (1983). Why has the sex/gender system become visible only now? in: Sandra Harding & Merrill B. Hintikka (Eds.), Discovering reality: Feminist perspectives on epistemology, metaphysics, methodology, and philosophy of science (pp 311-424). Dordrecht, The Netherlands: D. Reidel Publishing.

Harding, Sandra. (1997). Comment on Hekman's "Truth and method: Feminist standpoint theory revisited": Whose standpoint needs the regimes of truth and reality? Signs, 22 (2), 382-391.     

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