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1 Feminist Theory and Survey Research “The idea that there is only ‘one road’ to the feminist revolution, and only one type of ‘truly feminist’ research, is as limiting and as offensive as male-biased accounts of research that have gone before.” ~Liz Stanley and Sue Wise, 1983, p. 26. Introduction Over the past three decades, feminist methodologists have hammered home one point with surprising regularity: Feminist research takes a variety of legitimate forms; there is no “distinctive feminist method of research” (Harding, 1987; see also Chafetz, 2004a, 2004b; Fonow & Cook, 2005; Hawkesworth, 2006; Hesse-Biber, 2007; Risman, Sprague, & Howard, 1993; and Sprague, 2005). And yet, to this day, the relationship between feminist theory and…show more content…
Science infused explicitly with ideology and activist agendas is Chapter 1. Feminist Theory and Survey Research——3 no longer science, one might argue. As Janet Saltzman Chafetz (2004a), sociologist and self-described feminist, asserted, although there is such a thing as feminist theory—even if I do not think of it as social scientific—I find the very idea of feminist methodology in the social and behavioral sciences fundamentally untenable. . . . The research design and tools of data collection and analysis one selects ought to be chosen on the basis that they are the most appropriate to answering a given research question (pp. 971–972) —not on the basis of political or ideological commitments. My goal in this book, then, is to address both of these concerns headon. I argue that feminist theory and survey research can be used together. In fact, much existing research already points to the advantages of feminist social science research. At the same time, however, elements of Sherif’s and Chafetz’s comments ring true. A feminist approach to social science research does require something other than redeploying the same old instruments and methods (recall feminist theorist Audre Lorde’s similar assertion that “the master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house” [1984, pp. 110–113]). And while I certainly disagree with Chafetz on the tenability of feminist methodology, I wholeheartedly agree with her second point. The research
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