Please respond to at least two people with substantive comments and questions. Please make sure the answers are base on the article and videos provided.
Week 3: Recent changes in social science’s ways of knowing. Ever think about how what you study today is quite different than what you might have studied say even 50-60 years ago? It is fairly recent that women, people of color, and out LGBTQ people were allowed to be students let alone hired into top research departments across the country and formally included in academic conversations. Importantly, as academic departments began to be more representative of the U.S. population, these newcomers began questioning the ways of science and academy practices in general. For the social sciences, questioning the ways of science could be what Kuhn was talking about as leading to a paradigm shift. This week you will read Dorothy Smith and Pat Hill Collins. There is also a video interview with Sandra Harding to view. These women represent fundamental shifts away from thinking that science is only legitimate when it is unbiased, objective, and studying the social world as an outsider
Feminist Standpoint Theory
Post #1 Shannon1. One method of governing refers to our society ruling what we are taught in school, which the information has been provided by government, corporations, military, etc. and we participate in this ruling by learning the information we are taught. She also references the method of concepts and symbols, further explaining, “The contribution of sociology to this is that of working up the conceptual procedures, models and methods by which the immediate and concrete features of experience can be read into the conceptual mode in which the governing is done.” (Smith 1974, 8).2. What we know and understand as facts and their substance, which has already been established by the methods of governing. Many of these facts have been established by elite, or people of power, they do not necessarily understand issues that affect people who live differently, for example, people who are homeless, or are in a low-income bracket.3. I understood Smith’s take on facts they are being obtained from preformulated theories and ideas about how social systems and people should be. Kuhn refers to normal science as “…research firmly based upon one or more past scientific achievement, achievements that some particular scientific community acknowledges for a time as supplying the foundation for its further practice.” (Kuhn 1970, 10). Both facts and normal science have been established by research, ideas, or theories and apply them to facts or science that we know and understand as our foundation.4. Going through an experience gives firsthand knowledge of whatever is being experienced by the person, for example, Smith says in her article, “The only way of knowing a socially constructed world is knowing it from within. We can never stand outside it” (Smith 1974, 11). Facts should be formed by and who the affected people are, we cannot fully comprehend what we do not know. Patricia Collins makes a great point about this in her article by saying, “To be credible in the eyes of this group, scholars must be personal advocates for their material, be accountable for the consequences of their work, have lived or experienced their material in some fashion, and be willing to engage in dialogues about their findings with ordinary, everyday people.” (Collins, 6). For research, or facts to be credible, experience is necessary in forming conclusions. Last, in addition to the importance of experience in the construction of facts and sociological history, the Feminist Standpoint Theory adds, “The social situation of an epistemic agent—her gender, class, race, ethnicity, sexuality and physical capacities—plays a role in forming what we know and limiting what we are able to know.” (Feminist Standpoint Theory, section 3).5. I do not believe so, I think that previous ways of knowing in terms of research is still useful. It shows what our society found important at the time, why and how it was researched. In addition, it also shows a progression in how we come to know and understand things as well as how our methods change over time. I relate this to Kuhns paradigm shift and how over time, new science, or in this case knowing, changes once we accept new ideas or theories.
Post #2 DelaneyThe methods of governing Smith is referring to are the constructs in which social theories are explored. The administrators and the question creators of social theory hold all the power of what is actually being studied, so questions about a certain topic being asked will only be relevant to the administrator, not the individuals being directly affected by the social issue in question. This makes it so that what is believed to be true about social issues as a general population is heavily controlled by the administrators of social research. She is saying that life experiences make up facts for sociologists, stating “her direct experience of the everyday world the primary ground of her knowledge(Smith, 11)”. Since sociology is a social science, it depends on norms, values, ideals, experiences, and more of many different individuals in a community to fully understand why the community functions the way that it does. Smith’s take on facts relates to normal science because they both contribute to the expansion of social research. Life experiences will be different for everyone and continue to evolve with society, therefore sociological “facts” will always be questioned to see if a change is needed. This is just like how normal science and paradigms allow scientific research to continue.It is important to understand experience as a valid way of knowing because everyone in a society will have different life experiences, and therefore more knowledge on certain topics than others. For example, Smith talks about women and their impotence in sharing their experiences as a way of knowing because their experiences of life are much different than men, and therefore can bring new knowledge to the sociology world.3. Yes, as individual people grow, so will their community around them. This makes older ways of knowing no longer relevant to the modern world.
Smith, Dorothy. E. 1974. “Women’s Perspective as a Radical Critique of Sociology.”