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Breaking Out Again: Feminist Ontology and Epistemology

Breaking Out Again: Feminist Ontology
and Epistemology
Liz Stanley, Sue WiseRoutledge London
and New York
1983

From the introduction: Breaking Out explores feminist research and feminist consciousness, specifically around the topic of methodology and its relationship to the production of feminist knowledge about the world. In the late 1970s the term ‘methodology’ was used rather differently from now, in the early 1990s. At the time, for us it stood for two closely related sets of concerns: one located in the interests and ways of working known then as ‘the sociology of knowledge’, the other focusing upon concrete research processes and the means or methods—by which we meant the intellectual means, rather than particular techniques of data collection and analysis—through which feminist researchers make sense of what is going on and derive ‘theory’ from a material research process. In other words and using the terminology of the 1990s, Breaking Out was a book about feminist epistemology—a feminist theory of ‘knowledge’ — which discussed epistemological topics and questions around the example of one important academic feminist activity that produces knowledge-claims: research (with another being theory).

Table of Contents:

Introduction to the second edition
Introduction to the first edition

1. Feminism and the social sciences
…Key themes in the feminist critique
…Ripping-off the women’s movement?
…Feminist criticisms: a brief critique
2. Feminist theory
…Some current feminist writing (or ‘how to prove a point’)
…Theory, experience and research
…Feminism, ‘our way’
3. Beyond the personal?
…The personal is the political—or is it?
…Experience versus ‘the family’
…Theory and experience
4. Socialization and gender role: a sort of critique
…‘The family’, socialization and gender role
…Reflexivity and ‘role’
…Feminist theory of ‘the family’ as a structural
theory
5. Feminist consciousness
…Feminist consciousness and consciousness raising
…Sexism and changing consciousness
…Feminism and ‘the other’
6. The research process
…Positivism and naturalism
…Involvement and emotion
…Feminist social science research
7. ‘And so, dear reader…’
…Research and us
…Sitting inside the circle
…And breaking out
8. Breaking out again: afterword
…Introduction
…‘Feminist method’ and feminist epistemology
…A feminist ontology: theorizing body, mind and emotion
…A feminist ethic
…‘Women’ and deconstructionism
…Essentialism and constructionism
…Representation and the question of history
…Difference and ‘différance’
…Epistemologies of the oppressed
…Some concluding thoughts