Feminist Standpoint Theory Revisited. Susan Hekman. I N , THE PUBLICATION of Nancy Hartsock. Sex, and Power changed the landscape of feminist theo. Feminist standpoint theory, then, makes a contribution to epistemology, within a number of disciplines—such as Dorothy Smith, Nancy Hartsock, Hilary Rose. Reviewing Hartsock: The Feminist Standpoint: Toward a Specifically Feminist Historical Materialism. Hartsock looks to answer the general.

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Its advocates, as much as its critics, disagree vehemently about its parentage, its status as a theory, and crucially, its jartsock to current thinking about knowledge. The experience of person A is of the entrance to a building.

It was not until the latter part of the s that there was more of a focus on black women.

According to this idea, women are seen as inferior to men. Distinctive tenets of contemporary black feminist thought include: Feminist Politics and Epistemology: This marked an important transition from years past when the only works to be published or put on screen were those of more dominant groups.

Strong objectivity encompasses a sense of completeness and a lack of distortion.

The Feminist Standpoint

Journal of Women in Culture and Society. This standpoint of black women can also be seen as a “bifurcated consciousness”, which is the ability to see sttandpoint both from the perspective of the dominant and from the perspective of the oppressed and, therefore, to see both perspectives.

These assumptions are absorbed into the cultural ethos and structure social relations and hierarchies. But the inclusion of those experiences within a standpoint, it can be argued, runs the risk of occluding epistemically significant differences between women.

Generally, with respect to their commitment to objectivity, then, feminist standpoint theories can be understood as attempts to synthesize the elements that thhe create an inherent tension in feminist and emancipationist projects.

At first blush there appears a tension between the traditional epistemological assumption that a general, universal and abstract account of knowledge and scientific enquiry is possible, and the politically inflected feminist claim that such analyses are only properly understood in the social contexts in which they arise, and in terms of the biases and prejudices those contexts generate.


It enables them to name and think about their experiences in ways that properly represent those experiences.

Standpoint feminism – Wikipedia

The dualism here is expressed by the experience of two world: These feminist epistemologies extend the traditional empiricist commitment to experience and observation as the starting points for knowledge. Because of this, Black hattsock are put in the position of ‘active agents’ and are responsible to share their perspective and offer new insights.

Not all women, however, have exactly the same experiences. Harding argues that standpoint theory imposes a rigorous logic of discovery involving a strong demand for feminidt reflection and self-critique from within a standpoint, enabling the justification of socially-situated knowledge claims.

Hartsock argues that it is this production and appropriation of this labour where the opposition between the feminist and masculinist experiences is rooted Living as we did—on the edge—we developed a particular way of seeing reality. Masculine ego formation necessarily requires repressing this first relation and negating the mother. Heidi Mirza also offers an analysis of black feminist standpoint theory saying that new dialogues are formed out of the unique perspective of black feminist women.

The Bias Paradox Some, such as Helen Longino [] and Susan Hekman [] have argued that two of the central tenets of feminist standpoint theories—the claim that knowledge is socially situated and the claim that marginalized standpoints but not perspectives offer epistemic advantage—are in deep tension with each other. Feminist movements and ideologies Feminist theory Feminism and society Feminism and social class Feminism and history.

Hirschmann – – Cornell University Press. Gender equity in the workplace—why are women so over-represented in low-paid and under- or unvalued caring work? Those women also have to negotiate the contradictory demands of private and professional spheres.

Nancy Hartsock, The Feminist Standpoint – PhilPapers

Hartsock uses this as a way to suggest that masculine experience and activity is replicated in hierarchal and dualist institutions of class society and the cultural construction of sexuality. Feminists fe,inist just begin to unravel the female experience, searching for commonalities across diverse experiences of women, and are staandpoint to identify the structural determinants of these experiences.

If this is that case, trying to create a broad-based feminist community or building consensus on specific policy becomes difficult.

She describes them as “outsiders within”. This theory is considered to have potentially radical consequences because of the focus on power and the fact that it challenges the idea of an “essential truth”, [9] especially the hegemonic reality created, passed down and imposed by those in power. Barriers can be maintained by making the other the female into a thing From the outset, then, feminist epistemologies seem to be located within the contradictory pull of the politicized material and experiential concerns of feminism and the abstract universal concerns of epistemology.


Standpoint theories, then, move beyond a descriptive situated-knowledge thesis to a normative thesis, among the transformative objectives of which is a more socially just world. Women’s suffrage Muslim countries US.

Standpoint feminism is a theory that feminist social science should be practiced from the standpoint of women or particular groups of women, [1] as some scholars e. While violence against women remains an ongoing challenge and tragedy, women have derived epistemic advantage from the conceptual resources and clearer understanding of violence that has been afforded to them within feminist standpoints.

Feminist Standpoint Theory

Standpoint feminist theorists attempt to criticize dominant conventional epistemologies in the social and natural sciences, as well as defend the coherence of feminist knowledge. Whereas a perspective is occupied as a matter of thw fact of one’s socio-historical position and may well provide the starting point for the emergence of a standpoint, a standpoint is earned through the experience of collective political struggle, a struggle that requires both science and politics.

Part of a series on. Years of Feminist Empiricism and Standpoint Theory: Teminist distinguishing feature of Black feminist thought is its insistence that both the changed consciousness of individuals and the social transformation of political and economic institutions constitute essential ingredients for social change. Unlike those in the privileged social groups, black women have access to knowledge about everyone from hartsok most oppressed to the most privileged. She uses this epistemology to empower black women to hold their own control.