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WSTA03; LEC01.docx

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University of Toronto St. George
Women and Gender Studies

LEC01 WHAT IS THEORY - Testable beliefs - Effort to organize our knowledge and to provide careful and thoughtful use of - Basic ideas presented in a way of patterns and relationships - Understanding theory allows us to speak in a common vocabulary - Lead to better ways of working with others - Make predictions about that behaviour Working definition - Theory is a related set of concepts and principles about a phenomenon, the purpose of which is to explain or predict the phenomenon. In the case of Humanities and Social Science, the emphasis is on explanation o Ex. Chair is a concept; table is not a chair even though you can sit on them WHY IS THEORY IMPORTANT - Provides us with concepts to name what we observe and to explain relationships between concepts - Allows us to explain what we see and to figure out how to bring about change - A tool that enables us to identify a problem and to plan for means of altering the situation - Theory gives us the chance to sit back and reflect, question o Does not necessarily make you think all the time - Pattern to theory development o Constantly revised as things are discovered DEVELOPMENT OF THEORIES Speculative Stage; tries to explain things with what you know (ex. Blue) Descriptive Stage; why does it appeal to someone De/Constructive Stage; is that the only way you can have that light? There can be more that could be done - Provides us ways to challenge and question - Think critically of things around us; what can be improved or changed - Don’t have to accept things as is WHAT IS FEMINISM - Feminism is the political theory
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