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Research Sociology

Claiming Reality: Phenomenology and Women’s Experience

Claiming Reality: Phenomenology
and Women’s Experience
Louise Levesque-LopmanRowman & Littlefield1988

Claiming Reality is a major contribution to current research aimed at bringing gender-based equality to the social sciences. Drawing on the phenomenological sociology of Alfred Schutz, the author develops a penetrating critique in which she describes the origins and development of male supremacy in creating social theory. Dr. Levesque-Lopman lays claim to women’s subjective experience as a proper subject for study and explores the use of the phenomenological method to place woman’s consciousness of self within the realm of the accepted and acceptable.

If the phenomenological literature provides little theoretical understanding or description of culture from women’s point of view, philosophical reflection will proceed without the benefit of feminine consciousness. No humanistic science can now be taken seriously that continues to base its conclusions on a male-dominated orientation. The need for reciprocity between phenomenological sociology and feminism is obvious. As women’s experiences become valuable resources int he creation of a validated and less distorted structure for women’s self-knowledge, so can these experiences contribute to a more comprehensive sociological method.

Table of Contents

Part One: Sociological Perspectives on Women’s Experience
… Feminist Scholarship in the Social Sciences
… Traditional Methods of Research on Women
… Requirements for a New Perspective

Part Two: Origins of Phenomenological Sociology
… Repudiation of Positivism
… Development of Phenomenological Sociology
… Departure from Husserl
… Weber’s Subjective Meaning
… Reflexivity and Subject/Object Polarity
… Attachment of Meaning to Experience
… Interpretation of Social Action
… Typification, Paramount Reality, and Province of Meaning
… Intersubjectivity

Part Three: Critique of Phenomenological Sociology
… General Critique: Mills and Gouldner
… Response: Schutz
… Marxist Critique: Concurrence and Distinction

Part Four: Structures of Knowledge from a Feminist Perspective
… Politics of Research
… Alien Discourse
… Valuative Assumptions
… Beyond the Sociological Imagination
… Gender and Experience
… Qualitative and Quantitative
… Subjective and Objectiver
… Women as Subjects

Part Five: Phenomenological Approach to Women’s Experience
… Idealized Myth
… Subjective Meaning
… Intended Meaning
… Choosing among Alternatives
… Challenging the Taken-for-Granted
… Constitution of the Other

Part Six: Women as Agents of Knowledge
… Dichotomy in Research
… Supremacy of Knowledge
… Affirmative Approaches
… Subjective Knowledge
… Uniqueness of Experience

Part Seven: Phenomenological Reflections on Women’s Experience
… Meaning of Action
… The Lived-Body
… Modes of Understanding
… Centrality of Experience
… Attention to the Project
… Self-Encounter
… Dimensions in Time
… Reflective Attitude
… Revelations and Turning Points
… New Choices, New Possibilities

Part Eight: Phenomenological Sociology Reconsidered
… Expanding Categories
… Artificial Distinctions
… Alternative Constructions of Meaning
… Typification of Experience
… Feminist Critique
… Contributions to Feminist Research