Empiricism In Psychology

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Despite divergent methodologies and standpoints, feminists accept the dominant view in contemporary feminism that “gender is fixed, determined and foundational” (Cosgrove, 2003). Feminists have used meta-analysis to challenge the stereotype of girls being less proficient in math than boys and in differences in aggressive behavior. However, despite research demonstrating the lack of such gender differences in mathematics or aggressive behavior, the gendered stereotypes have remained and are perpetuated by the media. This review suggests that the stereotypical perception of males and females have not benefitted from the feminist empiricist research. The goal of feminist psychologists to bring about social change has not been fruitful to that…show more content…
But the problem is not with empiricism per se. The theorizing of gender and interrogation of epistemic commitments must be critically analysed before engaging in research. Without such a step, perpetuation of old forms of domination continues. It is during such a polarizing debate about empiricism and standpoint theory that a third perspective enters the field of feminist psychology. In challenging the masculine/feminine divide, researchers have strayed beyond a paradigm that essentializes gender and limits the options to two – resisting or celebrating the differences (Hare-Mustin & Marecek, 1990) (Kimball, 2001). Accommodating a plurality of discourses and incorporating postmodern tenets of deconstructing rather than regulating gender norms is the revolutionary new idea in the feminist sphere of research. Works of Butler and Kristeva are examples of this shift towards an ontological divertion of the concept of…show more content…
There is no way to get to the bottom of things in such an approach and this confuses a lot of people. In a way it encourages the relativistic perspective, which then makes feminist research seem pointless. But rather than succumbing to a depoliticized relativism, postmodern framework focuses on the sociopolitical grounding of experience. The validity of the categories of masculinity and femininity are questioned. Postmodernists argue that in challenging gender as a foundational category of analysis they show greater reflexivity. The assumption that experience has a foundational or ontological status points toward arriving at a conclusion toward the meaning of experience, which was relevant for feminist standpoint psychologists. Postmodern psychologists see experience as grounded in discursive relations and this creates interest in the connection between discourse, difference, power and experience. This newfound interest would lead feminist psychology in a more emancipatory direction by underwriting the need to improve upon the existing empiricist methodology. The narrative data of experience is approached with an interest in identifying the dominant discourses, in understanding gendered experience in a postmodern world. An example of how a question would be framed by a feminist postmodern psychologist in studying agoraphobia would include the relationship between dominant constructions of

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