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Feminist Research

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  1. Feminist Research

  2. What is Feminism? • A movement concerned with: • Gender inequality • Patriarchy • Promoting equal treatment • Promoting women’s rights • The Breadwinner model • Domestic division of labour

  3. Sex & Gender • “Sex refers to the physical and anatomical characteristics considered to distinguish male and female bodies from each other” • “Gender refers to differences in the way men and women in a particular society are expected to feel, think and behave” (Fulcher & Scott, 2007).

  4. Reinharz (1992). Feminist Methods in Social Research • Feminism is a perspective, not a research method. • Feminists use a multiplicity of research methods. • Feminist research involves an ongoing criticism of nonfeminist scholarship. • Feminist research is guided by feminist theory. • Feminist research may be trans-disciplinary. • Feminist research aims to create social change. • Feminist research strives to represent human diversity. • Feminist research frequently includes the researcher as a person. • Feminist research frequently attempts to develop special relations with the people studied (in interactive research). • Feminist research frequently defines a special relationship with the reader.

  5. Reinharz (1992). Feminist Methods in Social Research • feminist research is to do with methodology and epistemology • defining principle is that it is concerned solely with the study of women • feminist researchers are ‘connected knowers’ • Rather than there being a woman’s way of knowing there are women’s ways of knowing

  6. Reinharz (1992). Feminist Methods in Social Research • “Making the invisible visible, bringing the margin to the centre, rendering the trivial important, putting the spotlight on women as competent actors, understanding women as subjects in their own right rather than objects for men – all continue to be elements of feminist research” (p.248)

  7. Stanley & Wise (1993) Breaking Out Again: Feminist Ontology and Epistemology • “A non-sexist methodology is one which doesn’t adopt sexist practices such as the assumptions that all the researched are male, and that women’s experiences of the world are just like men’s” (p.34)

  8. Oakley (1981) Interviewing women: a contradiction in terms • “A feminist interviewing women is by definition both ‘inside’ the culture and participating in that which she is observing” (p.57)

  9. Finch (1993) The ethics and politics of interviewing women • “However effective a male interviewer might be at getting women interviewees to talk, there is necessarily an additional dimension when the interviewer is also a woman, because both parties share a subordinate structural position by virtue of their gender. This creates the possibility that a particular kind of identification will develop” (p.170)

  10. Approaches to interviewing • Research for social change • Research for, not of, women • Non-exploitative relationship • Interview as conversation • Researcher should talk about their lives • Participant may become a friend • Participants active in the research process • Only women can interview women • Encourage women to tell it like it is.

  11. Concerns • Class • Interpretation • Going native • Exit strategies • Exploitation