Women's Decision-Making: Common Themes . . . Irish Voices

By Nancy W. Veeder | Go to book overview

4
The New Women's Scholarship: Different Questions, Different Approaches, Different Conclusions

In studying women, it is important to study "worlds," not "rules" . . . researchers should use an inductive exploration of the symbolic world of the women . . . a phenomenological approach to probe the private sphere in which much of the female experience is defined.

Diane Beeson ( 1975)

When I first came in you didn't think you'd made any decisions--now you think you've made them all!

Interviewer to eighty-three-year-old respondent, 1990


BACKGROUND OF STUDY

I applied unsuccessfully for a Fulbright Award to teach at University College, Dublin ( UCD), and to do a study of Irish women and decision- making. However, in the process of doing the background work for the Fulbright proposal, I became enamored of the style of the great Irish women patriots and feminists, both historical and current ( Levenson and Natterstad 1986; McCarthy 1979; MacCurtain 1979; MacCurtain and O'Corrain 1979; Manning 1979; Murphy and McCafferty 1986; O'Corrain 1979; O'Dowd 1987; O'Hare and O'Connor 1987; Robinson 1979, 1988; Smyth 1988; Tuathaigh 1979; Ward 1983). I revelled in stories of Anna Parnell and her sisters, who so ably and elegantly advanced the "Ladies" Land League while brother Charles and friends were in prison, and who were so summarily dismissed from power in the Land League, and churlishly

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