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Feminist Social Theory Essay

563 words - 3 pages

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Feminist Social Theory.
The feminist social theory calls for equality for both genders- men and women. It entails studying gender inequality, the roles of women in the society, their experiences, duties and their contribution in fields such as, among others, sociology, and literature. The theory has been studied examined and expanded by several analysts such as sociologist Dorothy Smith, Patricia Hill Collins and Judith Butler. They all have their distinct views regarding the topic. Their conclusions also contain differences as well as similarities.
First, Dorothy Smith is a Canadian sociologist who involves neo-Marxist and phenomenological concepts and ideas in her work. She employs institutional ethnography approach that she sees as a way of acquiring knowledge of the way relations of ruling work from the perspective of the people upon which ...view middle of the document...

She employs the concept of bifurcated consciousness to conclude that there is a conceptual difference between our experience of the world and that imparted to us by theoretical frameworks favored by science.
Another sociologist, Patricia Hill Collins incorporates Smith’s work in her work and is greatly influenced by the standpoint theory. She uses the race factor to study the position of black women in the society and states that the broad disciplines of statuses- race, nationality, class- are interlocking sources of oppression. Further stating that there are likely sources of resistance where sites of domination exist. She underscores on a matrix of domination that states that one’s position is not made up of one standpoint but rather consists of several interlinked perspectives.
Judith Butler is a postmodern sociologist who disputes the notion that women can be studied as a stable group and sees gender identity to be an unstable fiction instead. She advocates for modern feminists to break away from the traditional binary classes that encourage sexism. She argues that a single subject is not entirely male or female but is rather in a condition of contextually dependent flux. Butler is also a supporter of the queer theory that implies that sexual behavior and identity are social constructs and are not biologically induced hence sex is a norm.
The feminist theories developed by the three sociologists agree and disagree on various levels. Both Collins and Smith agree on the concept of standpoint epistemology and approve that the knowledge one has been significantly influenced by the position one holds in the society. The three sociologists support neo-Marxist theories on hierarchical structures, repression, and general control. They also agree that performances of gender are influenced by how rulings relate. However, she states that regulatory norms and dissertations are not the sole determiners rather are a part of interrelations that result into subjectivities. Butler and Collins borrow heavily from postmodern works on human physiology and sexuality.

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