Dorothy Smith's Contribution To The Rise Of Feminist Sociology

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Feminist sociology emerged in the 19th and early 20th century, at a time when women were largely excluded from politics and employment, and were denied several civil rights, such as the right to vote, the right to own property, or the right to higher-level education. In terms of women’s history, there were various factors that contributed to the rise of feminist sociology. First, the rise of the industrial revolution led to a greater role for women in economic affairs, as they found waged work (largely in domestic service and textile factories). Second, the development of the middle- and upper-class home allowed women to have more time on their hands – beyond housework and nurturing children, there was more time to engage in social projects, …show more content…
Smith started off by examining women’s exclusion in making ideology, knowledge and culture – for a long time, men’s standpoint was represented as universal, and “comes to be seen as natural, obvious, and general.” This led to the primary question that dominates Smith’s standpoint theory: Who has thought to take up the issue of these relations from the standpoint of women? In doing so, she aims to critique traditional, male-centered sociology and tries to envision sociological concepts and theories from a female perspective. Furthermore, she clarifies that standpoint theory is not exclusively for women – rather, it is “a sociology that addresses society and social relations from the standpoint of women situated outside rather than within the relations of …show more content…
First, Smith claims that there is a gender subtext among ruling relations and that the ruling apparatus constitutes a coherent structure in which women are excluded. Second, Smith critiques the Everyday World for its gender division of labor: women are often relegated to the domestic sphere, and if they do work, they often hold jobs that are less prestigious and offer lower pay than those of men. Third, she claims that women develop a bifurcated consciousness when they are placed in both the public and private domain. On one hand, Smith had personal experience of being in the public domain during her doctoral studies; on the other hand, she also had to take care of two children as a single mother. Therefore, Smith had a double consciousness that included navigating the ruling apparatus at work, as well as being perceived as “other” at home. Fourth, she describes pivots as strategic orientations for moving out of personal and societal standpoints. Finally, Smith emphasizes critical ethnography as her primary methodology, examining institutional effects (particularly when it comes to gender) on people’s everyday lives. All in all, Dorothy Smith’s standpoint theory can be used to view sociology, which had traditionally been viewed from a white male standpoint, from a female perspective. Furthermore,

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