Does feminism count? An analysis of feminist methodological practice
Cohen, Rachel, Hughes, Christina and Lampard, Richard (2009) Does feminism count? An analysis of feminist methodological practice. In: Feminist Research Methods, University of Stockholm, 4-6 Feb 2009 (Unpublished)Full text not available from this repository.
Official URL: http://www.kvinfo.su.se/femmet09/papers/download/S...
Our paper seeks to contribute to debates about methodological approaches within feminism. These debates arose during the Second Wave in respect of concerns around the forms of knowledge being produced through, supposedly objective, malestream approaches and in terms of concerns around power issues within the research process. Second wave feminism was marked by a number of radical calls to change mainstream, and indeed malestream academic, knowledge. Alongside the call not simply for interdisciplinarity but for transdisciplinarity, feminists directed their attention to methods of social enquiry. Here, sustained critiques were developed of how, for example, quantitative methodological tools objectified subjecthood; how objectivity itself was a smokescreen for male interest, male perspectives and male privilege; and how ‘woman’ (both literally in terms of research respondents and in terms of epistemological foci) was missing from much research (see for example, Oakley, 1981; Mies, 1983; Stanley and Wise, 1993). Whilst the broader ‘qualitative vs quantitative’ paradigm debates predate these feminist critiques, feminism added a dualistic critique that noted how the binary of qualitative and quantitative was associated with a dualistic structuring of female/male; soft/hard; intuitive/rational; art/science and so forth (Oakley, 1998). In consequence, feminists called for a feminist methodology that, as the slogan at the time reflected, would not be ‘on women’ but would be ‘for women’ (1). Qualitative methodologies came to the fore as most suited to this approach as it was, for example, viewed as the most appropriate way of enabling researchers to listen to women’s voices (2 and 3). Indeed, Oakley (1998: 249) notes ‘although there are some signs of a new recognition within feminist social science of the usefulness of non-qualitative methods, both feminist methodology and feminist epistemology remain strongly founded on qualitative methods’. In consequence, within the UK at least, there is a strong presumption that feminists prefer qualitative methodologies. These debates, however, have not been restricted to feminism. For example, it has been argued within British sociology that there is similarly a strong preference for qualitative approaches. Nonetheless, our research provides support for arguments that methodological preference is far more complex than simply being attributed to disciplinary location or geography. Whilst these are important factors, the relationship between research questions and methodological approach remain significant. To explore these issues we examine the content of journal articles in the field of women’s studies, looking both at authors’ methodological choice and their justifications for employing particular methods and/or rejection of others. The study is based on content analysis of journals with subject category ‘women’s studies’ in the 2007 ISI Journal Citation Reports Social Science Edition.
|Item Type:||Conference Item (Paper)|
|Subjects:||H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
|Divisions:||Faculty of Social Sciences > Sociology|
|Date:||4 February 2009|
|Status:||Not Peer Reviewed|
|Conference Paper Type:||Paper|
|Title of Event:||Feminist Research Methods|
|Type of Event:||Conference|
|Location of Event:||University of Stockholm|
|Date(s) of Event:||4-6 Feb 2009|
Actions (login required)