Chapter 6: Locating our research within feminist philosophies and epistemologies
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This chapter explores how theory, philosophy and epistemology inform feminist research. It distinguishes between topic (the issue that is researched), theory (relevant theories relating to that topic), philosophy or philosophical perspective (the over-arching philosophical location of the study) and epistemology (theory of knowledge). After warning that it is not always possible to draw distinct boundaries, it then discusses three major epistemological perspectives that inform feminist research, and shows how, from an initial struggle to legitimise the study of women by women in an academy that privileged the study of men by men, feminist epistemologies have redefined who can be knowers, who can be known, and what can be regarded as ‘knowledge’. It shows how feminist poststructural theory/philosophy undermines the very possibility of epistemology, and concludes by anticipating major contributions from feminist researchers.

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