Standpoint theory is dead, long live standpoint theory! Why standpoint thinking should be embraced by scholars who do not identify as feminists?
Keywords:Feminism, Standpoint Theory, Essentialism
AbstractThis paper explores the applicability of standpoint theory within and outside of feminism by examining a journal debate in Signs about standpoint theory from 1997. The debate took place at a crucial point of transition between second- and third-wave feminism. I trace two versions of standpoint theory – “standpoint theory is” and “standpoint theory can” – and their relationship with multiple levels of exclusion and inclusion. I find that by relying on a fixed social location, the first version incorporates a contradiction that results in the exclusion of standpoints different from that fixed social location. The second version of standpoint theory then resolves the contradiction and offers tools available to feminist scholars and activists, scholars in related fields, and scholars who work in fields outside of feminism. Specifically, I suggest that research focusing on varieties of capitalism and alternatives to capitalism can benefit from adopting standpoint thinking and move away from analyses emerging from the West.
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