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Record Type: Review   ID: 565

Beyond Methodology: Feminist Scholarship as Lived Research

Fonow, Mary Margaret, & Cook, Judith A. (Eds.)

 The aim of this compilation "is to enable a better understanding of epistemology and methodology in feminist research by viewing them from a sociology-of-knowledge perspective" (p. 2). The selections included represent the current state as regards epistemology and methodology. An important role is played by reflexivity, which is the case in all good science, but in feminist research it is used not only to gain insight on the research process but also on "the assumptions about gender relations underlying the conduct of inquiry" (p. 2). Feminists look to a science that is even more rational than traditional science in that it considers "the metaphysical commitments of the scientist as well as the social arrangements of doing science" (pp. 2-3). The editors point out that consciousness raising (CR) is also an important component of feminist reflexivity. CR can involve transformation, which occurs when "something hidden is revealed about the formerly taken-for-granted aspects of sexual asymmetry" (p. 3). This can lead to (a) a cathartic emotional reaction; (b) "an academic insight and resulting intellectual product"; and (c) "increased politicization and corresponding activism" (p. 3). Several chapters in the volume illustrate all the points above. CR is also involved in becoming aware of the effects the research has on the researcher, ways in which the process of research affects the research subjects, and CR can also be a subject of study itself and used as a central feature of research technique. Specific CR techniques such as rap groups, role play, psychodrama, etc. can also be ways of collecting data. Feminist research also is action oriented in the sense of being political and practical, including the policy implications of research results. One of the most important features of feminist research is the attention it gives to "the role of affect in the production of knowledge" (p. 9). The selections included either are about feminist epistemology or methodology, examples of it, or both. The titles of the chapters and their authors, are as follows: Back to the Future: A Look at the Second Wave of Feminist Epistemology and Methodology [introduction], by Mary Margaret Fonow and Judith A. Cook; The Man of Professional Wisdom, by Kathryn Pyne Addelson; Learning from the Outsider Within: The Sociological Significance of Black Feminist Thought, by Patricia Hill Collins; Women's Research or Feminist Research? The Debate Surrounding Feminist Science and Methodology, by Maria Miles; Quantitative and Qualitative Methods in the Social Sciences: Current Feminist Issues and Practical Strategies, by Toby Epstein Jayaratne and Abigail J. Stewart; Race and Class Bias in Qualitative Research on Women, by Lynn Weber Cannon, Elizabeth Higginbotham, and Marianne L.A. Leung; Researching the Women's Movement: We Make Our Own History, But Not Just As We Please, by Verta Taylor and Leila J. Rupp; Objectivity and Truth: Problems in Doing Feminist Research, by Joan Acker, Kate Barry, and Johanna Esseveld; Separate but Equivalent: Equal Pay for Work of Comparable Worth, by Ronnie Steinberg and Lois Haignere; The Different Worlds of Women and Men: Attitudes toward Pornography and Responses to Not a Love Story—A Film About Pornography, by Pauline B. Bart, Linda N. Freeman, and Peter Kimball; Household Resources and U.S. Women's Work: Factors Affecting Gainful Employment at the Turn of the Century, by Christine E. Bose; Women in Agriculture: Counting the Labor Force in Developing Countries, by Ruth Dixon-Mueller; Coauthorship, Gender, and Publication Among Sociologists, by Kathryn B. Ward and Linda Grant; Feminist Research, Feminist Consciousness, and Experiences of Sexism, by Liz Stanley and Sue Wise; and Sharing Feminist Research With Popular Audiences: The Book Tour, by Laurel Richardson.
Publisher Information:Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1991. 310p. Chap. bibl; Chap. notes; Index: 301-310; 21 tables
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