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Qual II 2014--Week 4

Standpoint theory

Jerry Rosiek

on 25 April 2018

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Transcript of Qual II 2014--Week 4

Syllabus Questions?
Brainstorm a Critical Ethnography Study
Nancy Harstock Article
From Marxism to Standpoint Theory
Standpoint and Social Science
Sandra Harding Article
Indigenous Epistemology and Indigenous Standpoint
Dennis Foley Article
Next Readings--Foucault
Gots and Needs
False Consciousness
of Class
Knowledge of Reality is Distorted
Attention is Deflected
Ideological Analysis
MARXISM -- Review
Knowledge Shaped by Multiple Forms of Oppression
False Consciousness
False Consciousness
a Standpoint
Weak Objectivity
Attention is Limited by Positionality
Standpoint 2
Standpoint 1
Ideological Analysis
Knowledge of Reality
of Class Oppression
Strong Objectivity
Extremely Distorted Knowledge
Strong Objectivity
Strong Objectivity
Standpoint Theory
Social World

Privileged Positionality
Oppressed Positionality
Ideology can be internalized by members of oppressed classes. This serves to distract them from the institutional causes of their exploitation and suffering, . Rationalizes stratification.
Ideology is internalized as self-concept by members of privileged classes as well. This serves to naturalize the institutional causes of their privilege, often reframing it as a consequence of individual virtue or effort. Rationalizes stratification.
Persons in oppressed positionality must have a more accurate understanding of persons privileged classes, and of the operation of ideology, because predicting the behavior of the privileged is higher stakes. This is the root of standpoints and standpoint theory.
A standpoint begins to be achieved when a person in an oppressed positionality has become critically aware of the way prevailing ideologies distort their self-concept and their understanding of social arrangements.
A standpoint can be achieved when a person is in a privileged positionality? However, this knowledge would not be grounded in direct experience.
Someone with an achieved standpoint can provide a "stronger objectivity" by seeing not just what is present, but also things often obscured by ideology, as well as being aware of the ideological mediating effects structuring our vision.
Oppressed Positionality
as Researcher
Privileged Positionality
as Researcher
Without an achieved standpoint, can only achieve a "weak objectivity" by taking naturalized objects as they are given without critical interrogation. This often includes insisting that all knowledge be grounded in what can be made obvious to everyone--thus limiting knowledge to weak objectivity.
Description of the Social World
Description of the Social World
NEXT WEEK's Readings
Michel Foucault:

Binary Oppositions
The Panopticon
The Gaze
Subjects and Subjection
Ideology distorts understanding of reality
Ideology obscures the humanity and reality of the experiences of the oppressed. Insulates privileged from the ethical consequences of their actions. Rationalizes stratification.
Standpoint Theory's roots in Marxism
Qual II: Critical and Postcritical Inquiry
Critical Theory Review
Critical Approaches to Research Share in Common:

Normative Stance: A focus on social forms of oppression and a commitment to ameliorating them.
A focus on how ideology distorts the average person's understanding of the causes of their suffering.
A focus on how ideologies distort the way social scientists' frame questions and analyses of human experience. Accounting for this in research design is called "reflexivity."
Foundationalism: An assertion that there *is* a reality of structural oppression that needs to be documented, exposed, and ameliorated. And good research seeks to do this.
An understanding that the critical scrutiny of the emergence of research quetions is the first--and often overlooked--step of a real science of the social.

Prospectus Group Work
A prospectus should include five elements:
A brief description of the research topic that ends by identifying a research question.
A brief indication of the theoretical framework being used and why you chose it. (Often you indicate the literature you would review, but don't actually review it.)
An indication of the unit of analysis and data sources for the study.
An indication of the method of analysis for the study--what you would do with the data.
A brief description of the style and organization of the writing.
What you hope to achieve with the study--identify primary audience, what you hope to convince them of, and what they will do with that information/understanding.

Gots and Needs
Syllabus Questions?
Nancy Hartsock
Designing a Critical Ethngraphy
Identify a question about a form of social stratification reproduced generation after generation.
Stratification must cause suffering or hardship.
Stratification must appear natural or inevitable to those involved, but not be inevitable.
Critically question--why is this the question that is worth asking?

For example: Why do we have such a consistently high number of K-12 dropouts?.

Empirical Task: Identify rationalizations and social processes (explicit, technical, and bureacratic control) that make social stratification seem inevitable. These could be:
Rationalizations use by privileged class.
Rationalizations and behaviors of resistance by oppressed class that reproduce their own oppression.

Example: After a certain age you can't force kids to go to school and if you did they would be disruptive to the education of other children.

Example: Dropping out is a decision made by a child. Schools try to retain students, but after a certain point if they choose to opt out of school, little can be done.

Analytic Task: Identify contradictions within those rationalizations or between rationalizations and reality. these could be:
Their premises are false.
Way oppressor class is actually hurting itself.
Way resistance becomes a part of reproducing social caste and heirarchy.
The long terms effects of policies/practices are harmful

Example: The very word "drop out" implies the student freely chooses to drop out. Empirically, students are often "pushed out" of school in a variety of ways.

Example: The current budgeting for schools depends on a drop out rate of 20-30%. Schools are not equipped to see all students through to graduation.

Example: Students drop out thinking it is a form of liberation, but they realize within 6 months to a year how their vision of a decent paying job where their uncle works is not likely to come through. They realize too late how structurally trapped and without options they are.
Liberal Feminism
Presumes Men and Women are Essentially the Same
Believes Overall System is Sound
Locates Problem in Aggregated Individual Bigotry and Bias
Seeks Incremental Change Through Education and Civil Rights Legislation

Marxist Feminism
Presumes Men and Women are Essentially the Same
Believes Overall System is Flawed
Locates Problem in Gendered Maldistribution of Capital
Seeks Radical (structural) Change Through Transformation of Our Economic System and Redistribution of Wealth.

Post-Modern Feminism
Rejects the Male/Female Masculine/Feminine Binary While Emphasizing Respect for Gender Difference
Believes All Forms of Social Organization Involve Social and Emotional Violence
Locates Problem in Coercive Heteronormative Discourses
Seeks Change Through Deconstruction of Oversimplified Gender Categories and Performative Interventions in Taken-For-Granted Gender Discourses

Cultural Feminism
Presumes Men and Women are Essentially Different
Believes Overall System is Flawed
Locates Problem in Inherited Practice of Privileging Male Culture and Male Values
Seeks Radical (Structural) Change Through Creation of Women's Only Spaces and Collective decision making Informed by
Women's Ways of Knowing.

Yet emancipatory movements have two kinds of reasons to criticize this level of researchers’ control of research.
One is political.
The researched have usually belonged to social groups already less powerful than the researchers and their sponsors. It is the behaviors of the less powerful – workers, union activists, foot soldiers, prisoners, students, potential consumers, women, welfare users, already economically and politically disadvantaged races and classes, plus actual or soon to be colonized groups – that the institutions funding social research have wanted to discover how better to manage. Yet the researched are disempowered – further disempowered in the case of already disadvantaged groups – by such research processes. Such disempowerment also illuminates reasons for the resistance dominant groups have to becoming the object of study of social scientists. “Studying up” also is politically offensive to those studied.

the other reason is scientific:
the disempowerment of the researched in the research process (as well as outside it) tends to nourish distorted accounts of their beliefs and behaviors. Left to their own devices, researchers, like the rest of us, will tend to impose on what they observe and how they interpret it the conceptual frameworks valued in their cultures and disciplines, which all too often are those valued by the already powerful groups in the larger society. Moreover,
as is well-known, such a colonial situation simultaneously nourishes distorted accounts of the researchers and the social groups to which they belong and that their work services. The dominant groups’ perverse understandings of themselves, too, are reinforced by research that further disempowers the groups likely to be most critical of their dominance. (p. 299)
Sandra Harding
How Standpoint
Methodology Informs
Philosophy of Social Science

How can the kind of disempowering and distorting power of the researcher, apparently inherent in the research process, be blocked to prevent such colonialization of research? How can this be accomplished without losing the valuable “powers of the stranger”?
What strategies do not work for this goal, according to Harding?

What part of the research design and exeution process needs to come under incased methodological control to deal with this challenge?
Indigenous Epistemology and Indigenous Standpoint Theory
Dennis Foley
Indigenous epistemology refers to an Assertion of Difference in a "Way of knowing". Indigenous Standpoint is also about a different knowledge, but includes an explicit commitment to an emancipatory project.
"Consider how the following contentions are contrary to lived experiences: the body is both irrelevant and in opposition to the (real) self, an impediment to be overcome by the mind; the female mind either does not exist (Do women have souls?) or works in such incomprehensible ways as to be unintelligible (the 'enigma of woman'); what is real and primary is imperceptible to the senses and impervious to nature and natural change. What is remarkable is not only that these contentions have absorbed a great deal of philosophical energy, but, along with a series of other counterfactuals, have structured social relations for centuries" (p. 170, middle of second full paragraph).

Chosen by Niki DeRosia
"Thus, I am not suggesting that shared parenting arrangements can abolish the sexual divisions of labor. Doing away with this division of labor would of course require institutionalizing the participation of both women and men in chlidbearing; but just as the rational and conscious control of the production of goods and services requires a vast and far-reaching social transformation, so the rational and conscious organization of reproduction would entail the transformation both of every human relation, and of human relations to the natural world. The magnitude of the task is apparent if one asks what a society without institutionalized gender might look like" (p. 175).

Chosen by Allie Ivey
"Generalizing the activity of women to the social system as a whole would raise, for the first time in human history, the possibility of a fully human community, a community structured by connection rather than separation and opposition. One can conclude then that women's life activity does form the basis of a specifically feminist materialism, a materialism which can provide a point from which both to critique and to work against phallocratic ideology and institutions." bottom of 175-top of 176

Chosen by Becky Crowe

First, love the term "phallocratic" as she uses it (did she create it?). [Sentiment o expressed by Niki Derosia]
The term was coined in 1927 by Ernest Jones, as part of his debate with Freud over the role of the phallic stage in childhood development, when he argued that “men analysts have been led to adopt an unduly phallo-centric view”.[1] Drawing on the earlier arguments of Karen Horney,[2] Jones, in a series of articles, maintained the position that women were not disappointed creatures driven by penis envy. Instead, this belief was itself a theoretical defense against castration anxiety.
Dualism, along with the dominance of one side of the dichotomy over the other, marks phallocentric society and social theory. These dualisms appear in a variety of forms – in philosophy, technology, social theory, and the organization of class society itself. (p. 169)

Chosen by Paulina Whitehat
"...a colonial situation simultaneously nourishes distorted accounts of the researchers and the social groups to which they belong and that their work services.The dominant groups' perverse understandings of themselves, too, are reinforced by research that further disempowers, the groups likely to be most critical of their dominance." pg. 300 first paragraph

Chosen by Mckenzie Meline
"It is not that these subjugated understandings are automatically the best ones on sound empirical and theoretical grounds, but rather they can lead to the identification of additional problematic or just interesting natural and social phenomena, suggest different hypotheses and conceptual frameworks for investigating them, suggest different lines of evidence and challenges to favored evidenced practices, uncover unnoticed cultural tendencies in the writing up of data, and make strong arguments for dissemination practices that differ from those favored by contemporary research property rights systems" (p. 303)

Chosen by Allie Ivey
...this approach challenges members of dominant groups to make themselves "fit" to engage in collaborative, democratic, community enterprises with marginal peoples. Such a project requires learning to listen attentively to marginalized people; it requires educating oneself about their histories, achievements, preferred social relations, and hopes for the future; it requires putting one's body on the line for "their" causes until they feel like "our" causes; it requires critical examination of the dominant institutional beliefs and practices that systematically disadvantage them; it requires critical self-examination to discover how one unwittingly participates in generating disadvantage to them...and more. p68
Chosen by Becky Crowe
"Knowledge and power are internally linked; they coconstitute and comaintain each other. What people do – what kinds of interactions they have in social relations and relations to the natural world – both enables and limits what they can know. Yet what people typically can “do” depends in part upon their locations in social structures – whether or not they are assigned the work of taking care of children, and of people’s bodies and the spaces they inhabit, or of administering large agencies, corporations, or research institutes. Material life both enables and limits what people can come to know about themselves and the worlds around them. So the social structures of societies provide a kind of laboratory within which we can explore how different kinds of assigned or chosen activities enable some insights and block others." page 296

Chosen by Max Skorodinsky
"Theory does little to change power relationships, as Indigenous peoples still share a base experience of subjugation (Moreton-Robinson, 2000). Yet indigenous peoples have research needs and priorities. Their questions are important, even more importantly if they are to wear their identities with pride and work with and for their communities and nations providing Indigenous peoples with space to be Indigenous (Smith, 1999). The emergence of an Indigenous Standpoint in contemporary Indigenous scholarship is forging a new agenda that is necessary to change the existing power imbalance of contemporary literature theory, which re-enforces the dominance of western rhetoric" (Budby, 2001a, Moreton-Robinson, 2000, Nakata, 1998 & Rigney, 2000).

Chosen by Tracey Blue
"Indigenous philosophy is based on the oral traditions, and the contemporary Indigenous scholar should never trivialise this" pg. 50 last paragraph.
Chosen by Mckensie Meline

As scholars, we publish and report our findings through written text. How can scholars be expected to portray oral traditions in written form- especially given our past readings about not having the vocabulary to articulate the true meaning of a person's experience?

Chosen by Mckensie Meline
"Whilst the primary goal of Indigenist research is self-determination and the resistance of racialization, it can also be used for quantitative or qualitative research for self-benefit" (Rigney,1999,p.13) This approach rejects the dehumanizing characterization of Indigenous peoples as oppressed victims in need of charity by challenging the power and control that traditional research has had on knowledge over the 'other'. -p.48, left hand column / 1st paragraph

Chosen by Bobbie Bonilla
Liberal Civil Rights Approaches to Justice
Presumes Indigenous and Non-Indigenous People are Essentially the Same
Believes Overall Social System is Sound
Locates Problem in Aggregated Individual Bigotry and Bias
Seeks Incremental Change Through Full Inclusion in the Benefits of Existing Social Order

Marxist Approach to Justice
Presumes Indigenous and Non-Indigenous People are Essentially the Same
Believes Overall System is Flawed
Locates Core Problem in Maldistribution of Capital--Land Theft, Resource Theft, Displacement, Deliberate Impoverishment of Indigenous Communities.
Seeks Radical (structural) Change Through Transformation of Our Economic System and Redistribution of Wealth.

Post-Modern Approaches to Justice
Rejects the Idea That There is an Essential Indigeneity that Needs to be Preserved in the Face of Settler Colonialism.
Replaces Goal of "Survival" with "Survivance"
Locates Problem in Settler Society Discourses That Provide Inadequate Conceptions of 'Justice" and "Resistence"
Seeks Change Through Deconstruction of Oversimplified Conceptions of Progress and Inclusion--Development of Cultural and Legal Formations that Respect Political, Epistemic, and Ontological Difference

Cultural Approaches to Justice
Presumes Indigenous and Non-Indigenous People are Essentially Different--Rejects Assimilationist Versions of Inclusion
Believes Overall System is Flawed
Locates Problem in Practice of Privileging Settler Culture, Values, and Conceptions of Knowledge as natural and inevitable. ( offered as alternative.)
Seeks Radical (Structural) Change Through Creation of Indigenous-centric Instituions and decision making Informed by Indigenous Epistemologies

The insider doctrine holds that "the Outsider has a structurally imposed incapacity to comprehend alien groups, status, cultures and societies... the outsider has neither been socialised in the group nor has engaged in the run of experience that makes up its life, and therefore cannot have the direct, intuitive sensibility that alone makes empathic understanding possible (p. 46).
Mic drop! Boom!

Chosen by Misael Gutierrez
Inidigenous Sovereignty Complicates This Framework.

Indigenous Peoples are Different than a "Race." They are Nations within Nations established through Government to Government treaties and legally binding agreements.
Sovereignty involves control of land and other resources.
Sovereignty also involves cultural self-determination.
Sovereignty exceeds liberal conceptions of human rights--which are always granted within a Eurocentric discourse organized around "individual rights" and assimilationist conceptions of progress.
Sovereignty has elements of 3-4 of these conceptions of justice, but fits easily in no one of them.
"Women's activity as institutionalized has a double aspect - their contribution to subsistence, and their contribution to childrearing. Whether or not all of us do both, women as a sex are institutionally responsible for producing both goods and human beings and all women are forced to become the kinds of people who can do both." p.164, last paragraph under The Sexual Division of Labor

Chosen by Bobbie Bonilla
“The construction of the self in opposition to another who threatens one’s very being reverberates throughout the construction of both class society and the masculinist worldview and results in a deepgoing and hierarchical dualism…This experience of two worlds, one valuable, if abstract and deeply unattainable, the other useless and demeaning, if concrete and necessary, lies at the heart of a series of dualisms—abstract/concrete, mind/body, culture/nature, ideal/real, stasis/change. And these dualisms are overlaid by gender: only the first of each pair is associated with the male.” P. 167

Chosen by Darien Combs.
“Thus, not only do girls learn roles with more interpersonal and relationship skills, but the process of role learning itself is embodied in the concrete relation with the mother. The male, in contrast, must identify with an abstract, cultural stereotype and learn abstract behaviors not attached to a well-known person. Masculinity is idealized by boys whereas femininity is concrete for girls.”

Chosen by Kevin Donley
The concept of a standpoint structures epistemology in a particular way. Rather than a simple dualism, it posits a duality of levels of reality, of which the deeper level or essence both includes and explains the "surface" or appearance, and indicates the logic by means of which the appearance inverts and distorts a deeper reality. top of page 160

Chosen by Erin Winnerstrom
"I will discuss the 'sexual division of labor' rather than the 'gender division of labor' to stress, first my belief that the division of labor between men and women cannot be reduced to purely social dimensions. One must distinguish between what Sara Ruddick has termed 'invariant and nearly unchangeable' features of human life, and those which despite being 'nearly universal' are 'certainly changeable.' Thus, the fact that women and not men bear children is not (yet) a social choice, but that women and not men rear children in a society structured by compulsory heterosexuality and male dominance is clearly a societal choice" (p. 163).

Chosen by Kyle Reardon
"Thus such liberatory research "starts off" from the everyday lives of oppressed groups, rather than from the conceptual frameworks of the dominant social institutions and the disciplines that provide them with the resources they need for administration and management of the oppressed".

4 lines down; "Standpoint theory is part of Post-Marxian critical theories that regard ideology critiques as crucial to the growth of knowledge and to liberation. The causes of the conditions of the lives of the oppressed cannot be detected by only observing those lives. Instead, one must critically examine how the Supreme Court, Pentagon, transnational corporations, and welfare, health, and educational systems "think" in order to understand why women, racial minorities, and the poor in the USA have only the limited life choices that are available to them".

Chosen by Tracey Blue
"It takes both science and politics to see the world 'behind', 'beneath', or 'from outside' the oppressors' institutionalized vision. Thus a standpoint is an achievement, not an ascription. It must be struggled for agains the apparent realities mad 'natural' and 'obvious' by dominant institutions, and agains the ongoing political disempowerment of oppressed groups. Dominant groups do not want revealed either the falsity or the unjust political consequences of their material and conceptual practices. They do not know their assumptions are false (that slaves are fully human, that men are not the only model of the ideal human), and do not want to confront the claim that unjust political conditions are the consequence of their views" (p. 297, second paragraph).

Chosen by Niki Derosia
“Dominant groups do not want revealed either the falsity or the unjust political consequences of their material and conceptual practices. They usually do not know that their assumptions are false (that slaves are fully human, that men are not the only model of the ideal human), and do not want to confront the claim that unjust political conditions are the consequence of their views.” P. 297

Chosen by Darien Combs
Science has constructed a version of Indigenous 'reality' embedded in a scientific discourse that has no Indigenous input, in a language that is non-Indigenous by and for a non-Indigenous audience." page 44, second column

re. Indigenous philosophy: "The physical world is the base that is the land, the creation. The land is the mother, and we are of the land. We do not own the land, the land owns us. The land is our food, our culture, our spirit and our identity. The physical world encapsulates the land, the sky and all living organisms. The human world involves the knowledge, approaches to people, family, rules of behaviour, ceremonies, and their capacity to change. The sacred world is not based entirely in the metaphysical, as some would believe. Its foundation is in healing (both the spiritual and physical well being of all creatures), the lore (the retention and re-enforcement of oral history), care of country, the laws and their maintenance." page 46, bottom of second column

Chosen by Max Skorodinsky
"This is similar to the standpoint stance of Smith (1999), Moreton-Robinson (2000), and Huggins (1991 & 1998) that the purity of the research outcomes is enhanced if the Indigenous is researched by the Indigenous. The social epistemology of insider theory may seem extreme and in generalising it would appear that only black can study black and only white can study white (Merton, 1996). From an Indigenous perspective this rationale is justified when applied to the study of Indigenous peoples, as western discourse has already been identified as discriminatory, Anglo-European determined and ideologically controlled (Ogbor, 2000). Insider theory when combined with the logic of grounded theory allows the data to emerge without forcing it (Glaser, 1992), without inhibition from the Indigenous participant (when combined with an Indigenous researcher)" (p. 46, left column).

Chosen by Kyle Reardon
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