The social science theory of feminism

It refers to generating systematic ideas that define women's place in society and culture, including the depiction of women—large questions, indeed. The task of feminist theorists is necessarily monumental. It requires the wisdom, courage, and perseverance that Penelope displayed as she wove and unwove her tapestry to trick the suitors who sought to appropriate her kingdom and so steal her child's birthright. For many reasons the task of feminist theorists is difficult.

The social science theory of feminism

Dimensions of Difference among Feminist Perspectives on Science Feminist scientists, critics, and analysts of science articulate positions that range from profound ambivalence to respect and enthusiasm for the sciences.

At the critical end of this spectrum lie such famous indictments of science as Virginia Woolf's declaration: Lorraine Code expresses a similar view at the meta-scientific level.

She argues that many of the epistemological ideals that inform science have androcentric origins and that once subjected to feminist scrutiny these ideals are found to be in need of reconstruction; In fact, such implacably negative views of science are more often attributed to feminists than embraced by them.

The claim that feminists are categorically hostile to science appears to derive from a conviction that feminism, as a political stance, is inimical to science.

On this view, the distinctive objectivity of the sciences depends on shielding scientific inquiry from the influence of contextual non-epistemic values and interests of just the sort that feminists would bring to bear.

However, such an understanding of the objectivity of science begs the question of the role of values in science and assumes a clear distinction between epistemic and non-epistemic values.

The social science theory of feminism

Since the late twentieth century research exploring the role of values in science —undertaken by both feminist scholars and those who do not explicitly identify as The social science theory of feminism —suggest a more nuanced understanding of how epistemic and non-epistemic values interact and shape science in a variety of ways, including setting research agendas, evaluating evidence, and justifying theories see for example Douglas ; Kitcher; Lacey ; Longino, ; Solomon However, even if one holds a traditional understanding that good science should not incorporate non-epistemic values, except perhaps in the choice of research questions, it does not follow from feminist critiques—of scientific institutions, the authority vested in the disciplines identified as scientific, framework assumptions, or specific methodologies and research results—that feminists are hostile to the sciences, to the epistemic ideals presumed to underpin the sciences, or to the diverse assumptions and methods associated with specific research traditions.

Many feminists embrace and defend the orienting ideals and tradition-specific conventions associated with the fields in which they work. Some focus chiefly on equity issues, often insisting that gender bias in the institutions of science does not bear on issues of content or method see the section Feminist Equity Critiques.

The social science theory of feminism make a case for redefining research priorities without challenging existing research traditions; they aim to extend well established modes of inquiry to questions that have not been asked and to aspects of otherwise well mapped subject domains that have been neglected but that are of particular interest to women and feminists.

This selective appropriation of the tools and methods of science as they have been traditionally understood also serves critical ends when feminists use them to expose and correct gender bias in the content of favored models and theories or background assumptions.

They insist that feminist critiques of and contributions to the sciences should be taken seriously precisely because they represent better science, in a traditional sense. Even epistemically conservative critiques expose a depth and pervasiveness of gender bias in our best science as well as in manifestly bad science Harding19, —calling into question the neutrality of the conceptual frameworks within which scientists work and, by extension, the capacity of standard research methodologies to ensure the objectivity they claim.

Consequently feminist critique anywhere along the spectrum of epistemic attitudes can and has led to more radical re-evaluation of the standards of good science, including questions about the neutrality of method and what is meant by the objectivity of science.

Conversely, new questions lead to new research strategies, new categories of analysis, and an expanded repertoire of explanatory hypotheses, which frequently result in research programs that chart new domains of inquiry see the section From Selective Appropriation to Content Critique.

In the end, feminist initiatives often reshape scientific practice and in the process challenge its orienting ideals see the section Philosophical Implications.

Feminist Theory

The central epistemic challenge for feminists then is to conceptualize what counts as success in scientific inquiry in terms that realistically capture both its capacity to generate empirically rigorous, explanatorily probative knowledge and its context-specificity see the sections The Feminist Method Debate and Philosophical Implications below.

The diversity evident in the various feminist perspectives on science arises, then, on several dimensions: The result is, not surprisingly, a highly diverse array of feminist perspectives on science.

Feminist Equity Critiques Feminists have challenged both the presumption that the sciences are an inherently masculine domain—that women are unfit for science, or science unfit for women—and the conviction that the institutions of science are a model of gender-neutral meritocracy.

Feminist historians of science document entrenched historical patterns of exclusion of women while, at the same time, recovering evidence of women's active participation in the sciences, often in the face of stiff resistance.

The historical research on women in science suggests that the masculine profile of the sciences, as they have developed in Euro-American contexts in the last years, was by no means monolithic or inevitable.

For example, Londa Schiebinger argues that elite women and women involved in traditions of craft production in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries played an active role in the early formation of the sciences. The best known are noblewomen like Queen Christina of Sweden —Margaret Cavendish, the Duchess of Newcastle —and Madame du Chatelet —all of whom made contributions recognized by their peers but were denied membership in the scientific academies that were taking shape in their day.

The major academies of science excluded women: Marie Curie — was denied membership in the French Academie des Sciences in despite being the first person to win two Nobel Prizes in and ; the U.

National Academy of Sciences admitted its first woman Florence R. Sabin inbut it was not until that the French Academie elected Marguerite Perey, an assistant to Marie Curie, as a correspondent of the Academie Ramey ; Schiebinger2. After the s, when women were first admitted to universities and colleges, they slowly gained access to training in the sciences.

Moreover, these gains proved to be vulnerable. It was another twenty years before women regained the levels of representation they had achieved in the sciences in the s and s. Second wave feminist activism was instrumental in regaining and building on the educational gains realized by first wave feminism.

These challenges to the continuing marginalization of women, in the sciences as in many other spheres of professional and public life, resulted in landmark legislation in the late s and early s that mandated equal opportunity in employment and education; chief among these were the Title IX Education Amendments of that extended the Equal Pay Act of to higher education Rossiter Women have since made dramatic gains, doubling and quadrupling their representation in college and graduate programs in science, and among employed scientists and engineers.

The distribution of degrees by discipline illustrates more clearly where the majority of these gains have been.Feminist epistemology and philosophy of science studies the ways in which gender does and ought to influence our conceptions of knowledge, the knowing subject, and practices of inquiry and justification.

Jan 31,  · First of all, a “feminist theory of science” sounds like it is actually a theory of science, which is odd because science is inherently unaware of gender: the universe simply works however it.

Feminist theory is broad. There is no one feminist theory per se. Rather, there have been evolutions of the different frameworks under the broad heading of "feminist theory" since the late s. Feminism is the doctrine advocating social, political, and economic rights for women equal to those of men.

Feminism and Psychoanalytic Theory [Nancy J.

The social science theory of feminism

Chodorow] on *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. In this long-awaited book, a leading psychoanalytic feminist traces the development of her views on the psychodynamics. Academy of Social Sciences ASS The United Kingdom Association of Learned Societies in the Social Sciences formed in gave rise to the Academy of Learned Societies for the Social Sciences incorporated , which became the Academy of Social Sciences on ASS Commission on the Social Sciences Notes .

show how feminist theory can measurably and significantly improve a wide range of quantitative social science research. In addition, I want to suggest that the relationship between quantitative research and feminist theory is especially fruitful when an interdisciplinary, multiracial feminist approach is used.

Social Contract Theory | Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy