Epistemological Standpoints and Steps in Social Sciences. Intersectionality in Gender Studies

Wednesday, July 16, 2014: 4:05 PM
Room: 302
Oral Presentation
Daniela ROVENTA-FRUMUSANI , Cultural Anthropology and Communication, Bucharest University, Bucharest, Romania
Human and social sciences are the subject of a long lasting confrontation between the ideal-type standpoint of the researcher’s neutrality and the inevitable subjectivity in everyday life situations, between positivism and subjectivism. As a result of these paradigmatic oppositions, we encounter a cleavage between statistical quantitative methods applied to experimental data, “objective methods”, and qualitative methods used in a contextual research.

 Since 1980’s, in information and communications sciences  but also in management and gender studies, we are talking about the reliability  of qualitative methods, the role of experience, memory and standpoint. The objectivity is actually non-achievable, so the subjectivity must be assumed, explored, transferred.

Feminist studies (sociological first, then communicational, discursive, historical) are designed to reveal the women’s perspectives, as the feminist approaches had been ignored over the centuries. The main operator for the methodological change was the women’s testimony through methods like life story, narrative analysis, and ethnography. It will be improper to talk about the exclusion of the quantitative from the feminist research, but of the intersectionality of problematics and methods. What makes a quantitative or qualitative approach feminist is the focus on the topic of women and their issues. The feminist research prefers the individualization and not the generalization, the correction of the view from nowhere  postulated by  positivist research.

 With this new orientation towards a “situated knowledge” (see D. Haraway), with the triangulation of methods and the intersectionality of sociological parameters , the traditional separation between the subject connoisseur and the object to be known is abolished and the group  or community perspective can replace the neutral, individualizing perspective.


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OLIVIER Michèle et TREMBLAY Manon, 2000, Questionnements féministes et méthodologie de la recherche, Paris, L’Harmattan.