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SOCC38H3 Lecture Notes - Erik Erikson, Sandra Harding, Black Feminist Thought

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Ann Mullen

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Gender and the production of knowledge
Textbooks and biases in textbooks
How knowledge itself can be biased/limited/distorted
How knowledge is produced
What we read/think/study creates knowledge in society and relationship of gender to
How music or other forms of art are produced
Knowledge we tend to think of knowledge as just being existing because it is
knowledge, but we dont ask why are we learning about these topics/concepts?
Were producing this body of knowledge that exists in books and literature
This compilation of knowledge thats produced, how has that been influenced?
Two themes:
oThis work challenges the work of objectivity
The researcher tend to influence/bias their work
All of these works really have a light on productivity in an objective
Challenges the notion that its possible to have objective knowledge
oThe way these readings all pose a particular challenge
Theres a powered political element to these critiques to the
construction of knowledge
People that had studied knowledge say that much of knowledge has
been developed by following this logic of asking questions about social
life, natural world/social world
The critiques of knowledge look at who is asking those questions, who
wants those questions to be answered, whos generating those answers
White men are formulating those questions generated by a certain
segment of the population
There are puzzles depends on the person asking the question
It misses much of the other realms of political struggle in housework
and how housework is defined and who does housework
Research shows that women do much more housework than men
(women do twice as much as what men do even though they both work
The gap has closed a little bit, but women are the ones who are doing
the majority of work in the house
Women do an extra month of work than men do in terms of housework
and child care
An issue that affects womens lives to a great degree
This issue is an political issue because it involves political power in the
These are challenges and questions of power, knowledge of different
segments of the population are a form of power, and housework is also
a form of power
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Feminism and methodology:
Women were largely absent as subjects of research, research has been largely done
on men
Most of what we read as undergraduate student are written by men
Men are capable of writing about gender
Men are still the ones who are creating the majority of knowledge
The people producing knowledge have been and still to a large degree men
It raises this gigantic question about what happens if either women were producing
knowledge or seen as appropriate subjects of knowledge
From this initial observation, there has been suggestions of adding on women
Erik Erikson wrote about stages of life people go through and there are different
crises that people have to resolve and overcome (i.e. inferiority for children)
His research has been done on men rather than on women because they fit mens
lives really well but didnt fit womens lives
They are creating knowledge that best fits mens lives than womens lives
They found that women didnt fit the model, womens crises happen in a different
Women were judged by this model when they didnt fit the model
Women were seen as deficient
In the field of psychology, he was writing about the adult development healthy
adults follow this line of adolescents, schooling, marriage, advancements in career,
child bearing
But women dont fit this model they take time off work to take care of their kids
This experience was really based on a male experience
There are countless examples of this now articles use only men in their data, are
about men and how men continue their college education
Research on men and about men can cover research on women
In the field of psychiatry, women are the majority of people who take anti-
However, research on antidepressants have only been done mostly on men
In sociology, social mobility = persons chances in life, how they get ahead, career
choices...research has been done primarily on men and not on women
Womens experiences really dont fit into these models
How women move up depends on who they marry (women marry up)
Most men marry down, so their status is less dependent on the women they marry,
while women s status is more dependent on the men they marry
Awareness that women have been excluded from knowledge, and most knowledge is
produced by men
Attempts to add women in existing knowledge is not as simple as we think
People thought we just need to add more women in and do more studies on women,
but there are three limitations from this idea to add women on (called add women
and stir approach):
oTo do more research and give more recognition to the work of women
researchers and theorists
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