What my presentation is all about My basic argumentation will be the following. • What is Epistemology • What is Knowledge • Feminist Epistemology All research (and even all thinking) is always made from a point of view (or a theory, or background knowledge).
Philosophy of Science 2 Terms Epistemology –philosophy of knowledge • What is knowledge ? • What does it means to say that a belief is justified • What can we know Methodology – method used to try to understand our world better.
Epistemology is derived from ? Episteme [Gr. knowledge.] Scientific knowledge, a system of understanding; spec. Foucault's term for the body of ideas which shape the perception of knowledge at a peculiar period.
What is knowledge • Knowledge is neither data nor information though it is related to both • Data, information and knowledge are not interchangeable • Knowledge is a mix of framed experience, values, contextual information, and expert insight that provides a framework for evaluating and incorporating new experiences and information.
…Knowledge • How does this compare to others? • How does this relate to others • What do others think?
Knowledge is a political process…. • We live in a world in which knowledge is used to maintain oppressive relations. Information is interpreted and organized in such a way that the views of a small group of people are presented as objective knowledge, as" The Truth.” • As Maria Meis said that research is largely the instrument of dominance and legitimization of power elites, must be brought to serve the interest of dominated, exploited, and oppressed groups ( Kirby &McKenna)
Epistemology Study of knowledge Three components of knowledge • Justification • Truth • Belief Epistemologist typically focus on the knowledge, which is justified true belief Epistemology is the philosophical study of the nature , source , and limits of knowledge
Traditional EpistemologyThe Real Picture….. • Exclude the possibility that women could be knower or agent of knowledge • Claim that voice of science is a masculine one, that history is written from only the point of view of men of the dominant class and race, and the subject of the traditional sociological sentence is always assumed to be a man( Harding, 1987). • In addition, traditional feminist epistemology only gives primacy to domination of patriarchy without seriously addressing differences based on race/ ethnicity, gender and class .
Epistemology (sum up) The production of knowledge - philosophical concerned with • Where knowledge comes from • Who can be a “knower” (can women, the subjects of study be agents and producers of knowledge?); • What can be known (can “subjective truths”, feelings count as knowledge) • How much confidence we can have in the knowledge generated
Dominant knowledge practices disadvantage women by… • excluding them from inquiry, • denying them epistemic authority, • belittling their “feminine” cognitive styles and modes of knowledge, • producing theories of women that represent them as inferior, deviant, or significant only in the ways they serve male interests, • producing theories of social phenomena that render women's activities and interests, or gendered power relations, invisible, and • producing knowledge (science and technology) that is not useful for people in subordinate positions, or that reinforces gender and other social hierarchies.
Knowledge is Gendered? • Reason and the ‘gendered metaphor’ – dualistic, oppositional, and hierarchical: • men – women • culture – nature • reason – emotion • mind – body • public – private • authorized knowledge’ - basis of academic knowledge (institutionalised and legitimate), scientific, reason, objective, associated with men?
knowledge is genderedCont’…. 6. experiential knowledge’ – everyday, emotional, subjective, associated with women - dismissed? 7. feminists claim that knowledge is not gender neutral 8. male stream knowledge has been used to control women and, feminist knowledge is an aid to the emancipation of women’ (Abbott et al 2005: 366)
What Constitute Feminist Epistemology? • Grounded on & starts from women’s experiences • women as distinct producers of knowledge, and not simply as ‘objects’ about whom knowledge might be produced • Women’s experience as foundation of feminist epistemology
Why understand Epistemology at all? Epistemology answers questions about • Who can be a knower; What tests belief must pass in order to legitimately be regarded as knowledge; What things can be known (Harding,1987,p.3) • It is epistemologies that provide the justification for particular methodologies (Schwantdt,2001)
Why we understand epistemology at all Cont’….. 3. To understand the interrelationship of key components of research including methods and methodology; 4. To avoid confusion when discussing theoretical debates and approaches to social phenomena; and 5. To be able to recognize others', and defend our own positions.