An International Feminist Challenge to Theory (Advances in by M.T. Segal

By M.T. Segal

During this quantity, 15 feminist students from 5 continents, who participated within the 1998 convention co-sponsored by means of learn Committee 32, ladies in Society, of the foreign Sociological organization (WISISA) and the Centre for examine and instructing on girls at McGill college, reflect on, critique and build theories of society. Their papers research 4 inter-related subject matters: an specific or implicit acknowledgment and critique of the ecu Enlightenment as a foundation for the trendy creation of data; the use and software of "gender" as an idea; difficulties and options in feminist theories of improvement; and where of feminism within the creation of information and on-the-ground switch. each one paper displays the author's event as a researcher, theorist or swap agent, in addition to the dialogue and discussion of the five-day convention.

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And an inevitable casualty of this suspicion and rejection of empiricism is that the division between the humanities and the 'hard' and 'soft' sciences has been further entrenched. There is a disturbing tendency in what, for convenience, I will gloss as the more digestible and simplified expressions of postmodern criticism. The debt to the empirical, to evidence gleaned through observation, corporeal curiosity and intuitive perception, and the difficulty that attaches to rethinking empiricism through these more recent analytical technologies, is ignored, and this complacency then celebrated.

Such a matter can be easily proven by considering (white) eco-feminism: While challenging patriarchal heritage, most eco-feminists still refer to dichotomous concepts - such as essentialism and constructionism - which are at the base of both feminist and sociological analysis and theory. Yet, some are trying to overcome what I believe are false boundaries between nature and culture. Among them, eco-marxist Nancy Hartsock (1987, p. 45) argues that "As embodied humans we are . . " Her answer is radical: such a dichotomy should be considered a contradiction itself.

What it also refers to is the increasing impact that ideology and action from a distance has on our lives. In this sense, globalization is as much an 'in here' (the West from where this paper is written) as an 'out there' phenomenon. It is as much about the self and the body - changes in our personal lives and bodies, and certainly changes in local arenas - as it is about global structures and systems. It is a shake-up of institutions in which new forms of unity go along with new forms of fragmentation and new as well as old forms of inequality (Giddens, 1996/97).

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