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Feminist Standpoint Theory
 Standpoint theory, a feminist theoretical perspective that argues that knowledge stems from social position.
 The perspective denies that traditional science is objective and suggests that research and theory have ignored and marginalized women and feminist ways of thinking.
 It concerned with the impact of one’s location in society on one’s ability to know. Because women and men for example are gendered differently and accordingly have differently, how they know and what they are capable of knowing will differ.
 Standpoint feminists
 Patricia hills: Born in 1948 is an American academic specializing in race, class, and gender. She is a Distinguish university professor of sociology Emeriti at the University of Maryland, she is also head of the department of African American studies. She gained national attention for her book Black Feminist Thought.
 Dorothy smith: born in 1926 in United Kingdom, her main interest feminist studies and sociology.in her book the everyday world as problematic: a feminist sociology 1989, she argued that sociology has ignored and objectified women making them OTHER. She claimed that women's experiences are fertile grounds for feminist knowledge and that by grounding sociological in work in women’s every day experiences.
 Cont’d
 Sandra Harding: born in 1935, is American philosopher of feminist and postcolonial theory, epistemology, research methodology, and philosophy of science.
 Sandra Harding extended and reframed the idea of the standpoint of the proletariat to mark out the logical space for a feminist standpoint.
 and others: Nancy Hart sock and Alison Jaggar, sociologist of science Hilary Rose.
 Standpoint theory
 Stand point theory is a theory that feminist social science should be practiced from the standpoint of women or some group of women as some scholars ( e.g. Patricia Hill Collins and Dorthy Smith) say that they are better equipped to understand some aspects of the world.
 A feminist or women’s sand point epistemology proposes to make women’s experiences the point of departure in addition to and sometimes instead of men’s.
 What is feminist standpoint
 Feminist standpoint theory makes a contribution to epistemology, to methodological debates in the social and natural sciences, to philosophy of science, and to political activism.
 It has been one of the most influential and debated theories to emerge from second-wave feminist thinking.
 It has place relations between political and social power and knowledge center-stage.
 Feminist standpoint theories emerged in the 1970s, in the first instance from Marxist feminist and feminist critical theoretical approaches within a range of social scientific disciplines.
 The principal claims of FS
 Feminist standpoint theorists make three principal claims:
(1) Knowledge is socially situated (located or positioned).
(2) Marginalized groups are socially situated in ways that make it more possible for them to be aware of things and ask questions than it is for the non-marginalized.
(3) Research, particularly that focused on power relations, should begin with the lives of the marginalized.
 Central Themes in Feminist Standpoint Theory
 Certain socio-political positions occupied by women (and by extension other groups who lack social and economic privilege) can become sites of epistemic privilege and thus productive starting points for enquiry into questions about not only those who are socially and politically marginalized, but also those who, by dint of social and political privilege, occupy the positions of oppressors.
 This claim is captured by Sandra Harding thus: "Starting off research from women’s lives will generate less partial and distorted accounts not only of women’s lives but also of men’s lives and of the whole social order."
 Examples
 Person A approaches a building and enters it unproblematic ally. As she approaches she sees something perfectly familiar which, if asked, she might call ‘The Entrance’.
 Person X approaches the same building and sees a great stack of stairs and the obvious lack of a ramp for her wheelchair.
 The experience of person A is of the entrance to a building. Whereas the experience of person X is of a barrier to entrance and (at best) an inconvenience. Person X’s social location—qua person with a disability—means that the building presents differently to her from how it does to someone without a disability.
 Feminist epistemological projects
 Feminist epistemological projects:
 Began as a critique of that tradition but have progressed beyond the critical to reframe and re conceptualize the problems of knowledge and the epistemological project itself.
 Feminist epistemology does not adopt a massive critical position with respect to a traditional canon of epistemological work; rather it consists of a variety of feminist epistemological approaches, of which feminist standpoint epistemologies form a strand.
 Here feminist standpoint theory is examined primarily as a feminist epistemology and as a methodology for feminist researchers in the social sciences where, possibly, feminist standpoint theory has had the most influence and been the subject of most debate.
 Principles of feminist standpoint
 Central principles of feminist standpoint theories include:
 Recognition of the role of social and historical location in shaping epistemic agents and their knowledge,
 An encirclement of that location as a potentially valuable contribution to knowledge.

 Acquiring Knowledge via Standpoints
 According to feminist standpoint theories, the process of achieving knowledge begins when standpoints begin to emerge.
 They emerge when those who are marginalized and relatively invisible from the vantage point of the epistemically privileged become conscious of their social situation with respect to socio-political power and oppression, and begin to find a voice.

 Standpoint emerging notion
 It is no historical accident that feminist standpoint theory emerged in academic discourses, it is emerged with the feminist consciousness movement within feminist activism. This demonstrates the way in which feminist standpoint theories are grounded in feminist political practice.
 Opposing to the tendency of critics who perceive feminist standpoint theory via an individualist lens, mistakenly reducing the notion of a standpoint to an individual’s social location, the emergence of standpoints is a collective process occurring through the recognition and acknowledgment of others who occupy more or less the same standpoint as oneself.
 Women’s Narrations and SP
 Although narratives of oppressed may form a starting point, the emergence of a standpoint does not consist merely in the telling of individual women’s narratives.
 Self-definition in terms of a standpoint provides a starting point for the self-declaration of one’s own identity, challenging those identities imposed by conventional stereotypes that form part of hegemonic ways of thinking from the point of view of the socially and politically dominant.
 This assertion of identity—of who I am—adds to a body of knowledge about how my life is and how I experience the world.
 African American women an example
 Those truths expose myths about me, about my relationship with the world, and about my relationships with others in that world that have been taken to be true.
 In this manner, Patricia Hill Collins discusses a stereotypical understanding of African American women working as domestic servants—the Mammy stereotype which realizes black women as ‘faithful and obedient’ domestic servants, dedicated to the care of their white family—in contrast to the Sapphire, controlling and manipulative, or the Jezebel, a temptress
 CONTINUE
 As Collins shows, stereotypes such as these serve as ‘controlling images’ that serve to reinforce for everyone, including African American women, the ways of thinking from the point of view of the racially and sexually dominant.
 This way of thinking oppresses as it constrains what can be known about being an African American woman.
 African American and SF
 African American women, rather than racist and sexist social structures, are blamed for that oppression.
 Thus the epistemic process whereby a standpoint emerges enables the occupants of that standpoint to gain an element of power and control over knowledge about their lives.
 In becoming occupants of a standpoint, they also become knowing subjects in their own right, rather than merely objects that are known by others.
 Feminist standpoint advantages
 Feminist standpoint theorists argue that the epistemic and political advantages of beginning enquiry from within women’s lived experiences are not limited to providing a truer account of those lives, but of all the lives and socio-political relations within which those lives are trapped.
 Initial enquiry in women’s lived experiences, mediated by the politicized consciousness that emerges within a feminist standpoint, reveals the way in which male-dominated ideologies distort reality.
 CONTINUE
 Standpoints make visible aspects of social relations and of the natural world that are unavailable from dominant perspectives, and in so doing they generate the kinds of questions that will lead to a more complete and true account of those relations.
 Feminist standpoint theorists point out that, in order to survive within social structures in which one is oppressed, one is required to understand practices of oppression, to understand both oppressed and oppressor; but, this epistemic bi-polarity is neither required of, nor available to, the dominant.
 Example
 For example, the colonized have to learn the language of the colonizer—the New Zealand Māori learned English while use of the Māori language was strongly discouraged, for instance—in order to survive colonization, but the colonizer need not learn the language of the colonized in order to survive.
 The colonized, then, have some means of entry into the world of the colonizer, and the potential for gaining some understanding of how the world works from that perspective, but the colonizer is generally shut out of the world of the colonized and restricted to a mono-visual view of how the world is.


Original text

Feminist Standpoint Theory
 Standpoint theory, a feminist theoretical perspective that argues that knowledge stems from social position.
 The perspective denies that traditional science is objective and suggests that research and theory have ignored and marginalized women and feminist ways of thinking.
 It concerned with the impact of one’s location in society on one’s ability to know. Because women and men for example are gendered differently and accordingly have differently, how they know and what they are capable of knowing will differ.
 Standpoint feminists
 Patricia hills: Born in 1948 is an American academic specializing in race, class, and gender. She is a Distinguish university professor of sociology Emeriti at the University of Maryland, she is also head of the department of African American studies. She gained national attention for her book Black Feminist Thought.
 Dorothy smith: born in 1926 in United Kingdom, her main interest feminist studies and sociology.in her book the everyday world as problematic: a feminist sociology 1989, she argued that sociology has ignored and objectified women making them OTHER. She claimed that women's experiences are fertile grounds for feminist knowledge and that by grounding sociological in work in women’s every day experiences.
 Cont’d
 Sandra Harding: born in 1935, is American philosopher of feminist and postcolonial theory, epistemology, research methodology, and philosophy of science.
 Sandra Harding extended and reframed the idea of the standpoint of the proletariat to mark out the logical space for a feminist standpoint.
 and others: Nancy Hart sock and Alison Jaggar, sociologist of science Hilary Rose.
 Standpoint theory
 Stand point theory is a theory that feminist social science should be practiced from the standpoint of women or some group of women as some scholars ( e.g. Patricia Hill Collins and Dorthy Smith) say that they are better equipped to understand some aspects of the world.
 A feminist or women’s sand point epistemology proposes to make women’s experiences the point of departure in addition to and sometimes instead of men’s.
 What is feminist standpoint
 Feminist standpoint theory makes a contribution to epistemology, to methodological debates in the social and natural sciences, to philosophy of science, and to political activism.
 It has been one of the most influential and debated theories to emerge from second-wave feminist thinking.
 It has place relations between political and social power and knowledge center-stage.
 Feminist standpoint theories emerged in the 1970s, in the first instance from Marxist feminist and feminist critical theoretical approaches within a range of social scientific disciplines.
 The principal claims of FS
 Feminist standpoint theorists make three principal claims:
(1) Knowledge is socially situated (located or positioned).
(2) Marginalized groups are socially situated in ways that make it more possible for them to be aware of things and ask questions than it is for the non-marginalized.
(3) Research, particularly that focused on power relations, should begin with the lives of the marginalized.
 Central Themes in Feminist Standpoint Theory
 Certain socio-political positions occupied by women (and by extension other groups who lack social and economic privilege) can become sites of epistemic privilege and thus productive starting points for enquiry into questions about not only those who are socially and politically marginalized, but also those who, by dint of social and political privilege, occupy the positions of oppressors.
 This claim is captured by Sandra Harding thus: "Starting off research from women’s lives will generate less partial and distorted accounts not only of women’s lives but also of men’s lives and of the whole social order."
 Examples

 Person A approaches a building and enters it unproblematic ally. As she approaches she sees something perfectly familiar which, if asked, she might call ‘The Entrance’.
 Person X approaches the same building and sees a great stack of stairs and the obvious lack of a ramp for her wheelchair.
 The experience of person A is of the entrance to a building. Whereas the experience of person X is of a barrier to entrance and (at best) an inconvenience. Person X’s social location—qua person with a disability—means that the building presents differently to her from how it does to someone without a disability.
 Feminist epistemological projects
 Feminist epistemological projects:
 Began as a critique of that tradition but have progressed beyond the critical to reframe and re conceptualize the problems of knowledge and the epistemological project itself.
 Feminist epistemology does not adopt a massive critical position with respect to a traditional canon of epistemological work; rather it consists of a variety of feminist epistemological approaches, of which feminist standpoint epistemologies form a strand.
 Here feminist standpoint theory is examined primarily as a feminist epistemology and as a methodology for feminist researchers in the social sciences where, possibly, feminist standpoint theory has had the most influence and been the subject of most debate.
 Principles of feminist standpoint
 Central principles of feminist standpoint theories include:
 Recognition of the role of social and historical location in shaping epistemic agents and their knowledge,
 An encirclement of that location as a potentially valuable contribution to knowledge.


 Acquiring Knowledge via Standpoints
 According to feminist standpoint theories, the process of achieving knowledge begins when standpoints begin to emerge.
 They emerge when those who are marginalized and relatively invisible from the vantage point of the epistemically privileged become conscious of their social situation with respect to socio-political power and oppression, and begin to find a voice.


 Standpoint emerging notion
 It is no historical accident that feminist standpoint theory emerged in academic discourses, it is emerged with the feminist consciousness movement within feminist activism. This demonstrates the way in which feminist standpoint theories are grounded in feminist political practice.
 Opposing to the tendency of critics who perceive feminist standpoint theory via an individualist lens, mistakenly reducing the notion of a standpoint to an individual’s social location, the emergence of standpoints is a collective process occurring through the recognition and acknowledgment of others who occupy more or less the same standpoint as oneself.
 Women’s Narrations and SP
 Although narratives of oppressed may form a starting point, the emergence of a standpoint does not consist merely in the telling of individual women’s narratives.
 Self-definition in terms of a standpoint provides a starting point for the self-declaration of one’s own identity, challenging those identities imposed by conventional stereotypes that form part of hegemonic ways of thinking from the point of view of the socially and politically dominant.
 This assertion of identity—of who I am—adds to a body of knowledge about how my life is and how I experience the world.
 African American women an example
 Those truths expose myths about me, about my relationship with the world, and about my relationships with others in that world that have been taken to be true.
 In this manner, Patricia Hill Collins discusses a stereotypical understanding of African American women working as domestic servants—the Mammy stereotype which realizes black women as ‘faithful and obedient’ domestic servants, dedicated to the care of their white family—in contrast to the Sapphire, controlling and manipulative, or the Jezebel, a temptress
 CONTINUE

 As Collins shows, stereotypes such as these serve as ‘controlling images’ that serve to reinforce for everyone, including African American women, the ways of thinking from the point of view of the racially and sexually dominant.
 This way of thinking oppresses as it constrains what can be known about being an African American woman.
 African American and SF

 African American women, rather than racist and sexist social structures, are blamed for that oppression.
 Thus the epistemic process whereby a standpoint emerges enables the occupants of that standpoint to gain an element of power and control over knowledge about their lives.
 In becoming occupants of a standpoint, they also become knowing subjects in their own right, rather than merely objects that are known by others.
 Feminist standpoint advantages
 Feminist standpoint theorists argue that the epistemic and political advantages of beginning enquiry from within women’s lived experiences are not limited to providing a truer account of those lives, but of all the lives and socio-political relations within which those lives are trapped.
 Initial enquiry in women’s lived experiences, mediated by the politicized consciousness that emerges within a feminist standpoint, reveals the way in which male-dominated ideologies distort reality.
 CONTINUE

 Standpoints make visible aspects of social relations and of the natural world that are unavailable from dominant perspectives, and in so doing they generate the kinds of questions that will lead to a more complete and true account of those relations.
 Feminist standpoint theorists point out that, in order to survive within social structures in which one is oppressed, one is required to understand practices of oppression, to understand both oppressed and oppressor; but, this epistemic bi-polarity is neither required of, nor available to, the dominant.
 Example

 For example, the colonized have to learn the language of the colonizer—the New Zealand Māori learned English while use of the Māori language was strongly discouraged, for instance—in order to survive colonization, but the colonizer need not learn the language of the colonized in order to survive.
 The colonized, then, have some means of entry into the world of the colonizer, and the potential for gaining some understanding of how the world works from that perspective, but the colonizer is generally shut out of the world of the colonized and restricted to a mono-visual view of how the world is.

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