Gender, Politics, And Psychology's Ways Of Knowing

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American Psychologist


Recent work on the psychology of gender has emphasized comparisons of men and women. Such comparisons rest on a view of gender as an individual difference or psychological attribute. Feminist theorists have challenged this view as limited and inadequate. In place of it, a variety of alternative conceptions of gender are emerging. These conceptions shift the focus of analysis from the indivual to interpersonal and institutional arenas. Moreover, they dispute the idea of gender as static, unitary and separable from other markers of social identify and status. In contrast to Alice Eagly (1995), I assert that the production of knowledge (whether by scientific procedures or other means) is not set apart from society bur rather is always and inevitably embedded within it. Therefore, I call for efforts to uncover the ways in which psychological knowledge is shaped by ongoing societal strugggles and cultural politics.

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