Feminist Approaches to Theory and Methodology: An Interdisciplinary Reader

Synopsis

As feminist scholarship has developed, it has become increasingly clear that the practice of feminist research is interdisciplinary. Yet there are very few books in the social sciences and humanities that address the methodological and theoretical issues raised in doing feminist research from an interdisciplinary perspective. This collection is an ideal text for courses in research methods and in women's studies in a wide range of social science and humanities disciplines. A distinct feature of this volume is its interdisciplinary and global orientation. The collection is organized around key issues in feminist theory and empirical research as they have been impacted by post-structuralist dialogue. Several essays address the tensions between disciplinary and interdisciplinary knowledge building, exposing male biases embedded in disciplinary paradigms. Other essays deal with the politics of identity and experience, presented not as innate and unproblematic, but as constituted by discourse, representation, and the effects of power. Responding to the inadequacy of essentializing modes of feminist thought, some scholars focus on the complex terrain in which difference is used as a tool of oppression and of resistance both inside and outside feminist praxis. The gender dynamics of power and resistance are taken up by several critics whose research encourages the development of a feminist scholarly methodology focused on women's subjective experiences and the ways in which relations of power are mediated. Visual and discursive representations of the female body constitute another major focus of the volume, especially as related to the imposition of compulsory heterosexuality and reproductive norms. The volume concludes with a set of essays which present the reader with some methodological and political dilemmas feminists encounter as they expose the underlying ideological distortions in existing social policies.

Additional information

Includes content by:
  • Susan Bordo
  • Kathleen Canning
  • Joan W. Scott
  • Jayati Lal
  • Catherine Raissiguier
Publisher: Place of publication:
  • New York
Publication year:
  • 1999