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SOSC 1185 9.0 - LECTURE # 3

5 Pages

Social Science
Course Code
SOSC 1185
Lee Wiggins

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SOSC 1185 9.0 – Women and Society September 21 st Instructor: L. Wiggins Critical assessment of research, challenging objectivity 1. Why is it important to critically assess research regarding women?  Problematizing the „science of differences‟ that argues that men & women are very different, & is used to support structural & ideological inequality  By reference biology – men & women are naturally biologicallydifferent  Want to ask – who does this science of diff. benefit?  Commonly hear that women and men are 1 chromosome apart  making them very different with one another  Used to do autopsies, measuring male and female brains  men‟s were normally heavier than female‟s – led people to believe males were smarter  Men are thought to have a higher education than girls  We must start to believe that men and boys are not always superior to girls/women  Must not assume that any difference found by research is something that has always existed and will always exist  beware of universalism  Differences may be caused bymany different factors  Biology is always invested in cultural meaning  Conscious choices: steroids – affecting us biologically  Environment is affecting us biologically  causing less boys to be born; low sperm count  also caused by human interaction 2. What is scientific objectivity? How does it support the science of differences? Objectivity: scientific so truthful, based on „fact‟, no personal bias or values involved so neutral, fair, truthful - Presents itself as something positive and superior - Once you buy into the idea, it‟s hard to get out - If something is scientifically challenged , it should not be changed  if we say it‟s right, it should be accepted – hard for change to happen - Describes, explains, and through that explanation, provides an answer - Theoryis about generating research – either validated, or challenged - Theories should not been seen as fixed or absolute  raises the issue that there maybe alternate theories / bible theories  alternative ways to explain something – not always going to be just one way  not a simple “either-or” situation 3. Challenging scientific objectivity & understanding research and theory as value-laden, even biased  Understanding that research & production of knowledge is historically, culturally specific & value-laden  Has values embedded into it – sometimes conscious, sometimes not  Importance of understanding research – links to the society & ideology Values: Broad social definitions of what is seen to be good, preferred or right in a particular culture/society. Bias: “Bias refers to an opinion, preference, prejudice, or inclination formed without reasonable justification that then influences an individual‟s or group‟s ability to evaluate a particular situation; an uninformed preference for or against. Biases can be explicit or implicit, intentional or unintentional.” Rosemary Morgan & Anver Salojee, CAUT 2003 4. How can values & bias have an effect on research & production of knowledge? - Who gets to do research  People in the past did research to produce knowledge  Knowledge what gets talked about, written down, learned, spread  Tendencies to put one place of earth as experts – knowledge spread - What research gets done (topics, funding,) “In the past, so-called scientific research has included attempts to „prove‟ people of colour aren‟t as smart as white people and Asians (by measuring the circumference of their heads), and attempts to „prove‟ that women are not as smart as men because of a difference in the size of their cortex, etc. We always need to ask ourselves: WHY is this research being undertaken - what is the purpose behind this study? Clearly, it is not just scientific curiosity. … The purpose of finding the gay gene is so that it can be isolated, so that fetuses carrying the gay gene can be aborted, and so that those who are gay or lesbian can have gene therapy and be „cured‟. This is akin to ethnic cleansing. It is deeply offensive.” “To Our Allies: Everything you ever wanted to know..” - Who the research considers or the subjects and who is ignored  Many medications have side effects that can may affect women but not men – ex. Acne medicine, should not use if pregnant  Women and men have different cardio diseases – diff. symptoms  Women have slow recovery rates – they take care of others, no one takes care of them – men‟s place is not in the home – men not caregivers  1995, a researcher decided not to use women because women will make it “too difficult” - What is chosen as important vs. not important  Pay attention and give support/discount/ignore anything that suggest that there are any significant - Language used  Language used
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