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Toward a space of our own : Feminist research and teaching in the social sciences

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Abstract

This article is an attempt to consider some issues concerning the development of Women's Studies. Since the emergence of the Women's Liberation Movement in the United States in the late 1960s, there have also been various efforts to develop Women's Studies as the educational arm of the women's movement. At the present time, there are thousands of courses worldwide, and the growth continues. My main task is to examine how Women's Studies has developed and what shape it has taken in order to indicate the relevance of some issues to the condition of Polish women as well as in research and teaching in the social sciences. I discuss some issues concerning the definition of Women's Studies, its aims, content, and organization. In addition, exploring the implications of feminist theory and practice for the development of Women's Studies in the social sciences, I refer to my attempts to integrate feminist issues into research and teaching in the field of the sociology of education.

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... The re-enactment of Nietzsche's thought during the 20th century, including his abandonment of the long-standing difference between objective or subjective expressions of human culture, surely encouraged this tendency too; the concept of narrative (White, 1978) also played an important role, especially (though not exclusively) in the realm of the social and human sciences, which underwent a deep transformation in their frame and scope. Inter-and cross-disciplinarity, eclecticism, the mingling of the social and the human studies, of technology and science, the promotion of minority worldviews into the academic arena (Banks, 1995;Gontarczyk-Wesola, 1995), all these novel tendencies were made possible by this underlying trend, which ended up having profound and interesting effects on the pedagogic dimension of the social sciences (Biesta, 2011;Cruickshank, 2010;Wagner & Kawulich, 2011). In the end, it also determined the general understanding of scientific rationality. ...
Chapter
As advanced at the end of the previous chapter, the present one underscores the need to reassess Karl Marx’s contribution from the standpoint of pedagogy, in order for this field to come to terms with his sophisticated theory of the Erscheinungsformen or phenomenal forms. This analysis seems particularly pertinent in relation to the work of the early-Soviet scholar Lev Vygotsky, who allegedly deployed this concept in his own account of cognitive development in human beings. Indeed, despite the many educational fields that Marx’s work has impacted on—most obviously sociology of education, but also educational psychology, particularly thanks to the theoretical developments made by the author whose work we are about to explore—this influence has never been examined, to the best of my knowledge, from the specific vantage point afforded by his account of this concept. When Marx employed it, his line of reasoning progressed through similar paths to those followed in his analyses of ideology and fetishism, two terms which, unlike Erscheinungsformen, have received much more attention, both from the Marxist bench (Althusser, 1970; Kofman, 1999) and the various fields of knowledge influenced by Marx’s thought. This tendency also manifests itself in education-related areas, where reference to the Marxian theory of forms of manifestation is markedly absent, but not the theory of ideology (see, for example, Apple, 1981; Camangian, 2013; Giroux, 1983; Wrigley, 2011).
... The re-enactment of Nietzsche's thought during the 20th century, including his abandonment of the long-standing 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 difference between objective or subjective expressions of human culture, surely encouraged this tendency too; the concept of narrative (White, 1978) also played an important role, especially (though not exclusively) in the realm of the social and human sciences, which underwent a deep transformation in their frame and scope. Inter-and cross-disciplinarity, eclecticism, the mingling of the social and the human studies, of technology and science, the promotion of minority worldviews into the academic arena (Banks, 1995;Gontarczyk-Wesola, 1995), all these novel tendencies were made possible by this underlying trend, which ended up having profound and interesting effects on the pedagogic dimension of the social sciences (Biesta, 2011;Cruickshank, 2010;Wagner & Kawulich, 2011). In the end, it also determined the general understanding of scientific rationality. ...
Chapter
‘A critical [educational] process is driven and justified by mutuality. This ethic of mutual development’, argued Ira Shor (2009) in the context of his analysis of Freire’s dialogic pedagogy, ‘can be thought as of a Freirean addition to the Vygotskyan one’ (p. 291). As this quote suggests, the aim of this chapter is to describe the essential feature of Paulo Freire’s solution to the conundrum that Lev Vygotsky’s framework stumbled upon. While Shor’s sentence hits the target, it relies on a widespread opinion among education scholars, who tend to emphasize the ethical component of critical pedagogy in general and Freire’s project in particular (Darder, 2009; Flores-Kastaris et al., 2009). In contrast to this ethical turn, this chapter argues that the main reason why educators should push dialogue, equality, freedom, and tolerance to the foreground of their teaching, as Freire did, is not ethical but specifically pedagogic, and hence that it has less to do with the convenience of treating these principles as abstract, ethical values (and thus valid irrespectively of the social situation people find themselves in: educational, political, economic, and so on), than with the educational need that has been repeatedly explained in this book: namely, the need to overcome the negative effects of the phenomenal forms. In other words, dialogue, equality, freedom, and tolerance should orient teachers’ practice not because they are ethical or virtuous in themselves, but on account of their educational efficiency vis-à-vis the specific pedagogical problem posed by the phenomenal forms.
... The re-enactment of Nietzsche's thought during the 20th century, including his abandonment of the long-standing difference between objective or subjective expressions of human culture, surely encouraged this tendency too; the concept of narrative (White, 1978) also played an important role, especially (though not exclusively) in the realm of the social and human sciences, which underwent a deep transformation in their frame and scope. Inter-and cross-disciplinarity, eclecticism, the mingling of the social and the human studies, of technology and science, the promotion of minority worldviews into the academic arena (Banks, 1995;Gontarczyk-Wesola, 1995), all these novel tendencies were made possible by this underlying trend, which ended up having profound and interesting effects on the pedagogic dimension of the social sciences (Biesta, 2011;Cruickshank, 2010;Wagner & Kawulich, 2011). In the end, it also determined the general understanding of scientific rationality. ...
Chapter
This first chapter introduces the main concepts of Marxist sociology and Freudian psychoanalysis, two theories that have been intensely devoted to investigating and overcoming the epistemological effects caused by the phenomenal forms which inhered in the mode of production and the psychic apparatus, their respective subject matters. Their two prominent spearheads, Karl Marx and Sigmund Freud, soon understood that their scientific endeavors depended on deciphering the mechanisms which, in each case, generated these distorted reflections. These mechanisms were class division—the complex network that in any given social milieu consolidates around specific relations of production—and the splitting up of the psychic apparatus into conscious and unconscious regions, with repression acting as a wall between them. From these two divided structures, social and psychic superficial mirages ensued: on the one hand, ideological and fetishistic representations of society, which did no justice to the multiple social strata; on the other, introspective images of the psychic apparatus, the distorted nature of which resulted from the fact that they emerged from the conscious layers of psychic life (from the ego), and left out the unconscious regions.
... The re-enactment of Nietzsche's thought during the 20th century, including his abandonment of the long-standing difference between objective or subjective expressions of human culture, surely encouraged this tendency too; as did the concept of narrative (White, 1978) play an important role, especially, though not exclusively, in the realm of the social and human sciences, which underwent a deep transformation in its frame and scope. Inter – and cross – disciplinarity, eclecticism, the mingling of the social and the human studies, of technology and science, the promotion of minority worldviews into the academic arena (Banks, 1995; Gontarczyk-Wesola, 1995), all these novel tendencies were made possible by this underlying trend, which ended up having profound and interesting effects on the pedagogic dimension of the social sciences (Wagner et al., 2011; Biesta, 2011; Cruickshank, 2010). In the end, it also determined the general understanding of scientific rationality. ...
Article
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In an attempt to provide an in-depth analysis of John Elliott’s prolonged contribution to the field of educational and curricular studies, the following paper starts by locating this pedagogue’s work in the context of key ideological debates of the 20th century, whose consequences shaped the realm of the social and the human sciences. Elliott’s stand at this ideological crossroads is defined as liberal, on account of the way he tied his own educational philosophy to the ethical sphere and to the means of education, in opposition to the learning of objective knowledge. The second part of the paper explores Elliott’s pedagogy from the point of view of the potential it may have to suggest a curricular approach that, contrary to his, defends the objectivity of the social and human sciences and the need for students to fulfil and attain certain content-goals. In contrast to Elliott’s intentions, the paper arrives at the conclusion that the fact that students participate in the same social reality they must come to understand and obtain a knowledge of, poses specific pedagogical (emotional and interactional) obstacles that Elliott’s principles would be particularly well suited to overcome.