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Standpoint Theory - Essay Example

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Standpoint Theory
This paper reviews articles on the theory and how several scholars tested its relevance to different cultural and learning standpoints…

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Standpoint Theory

Standpoint Theory provides epistemic advantage for different academic fields, when informants/characters are empowered to accurately discuss and analyze their social positions, so that they can change the status quo and improve their social status, although the theory must also address its conceptual and methodological weaknesses to become a dependable resource for feminist epistemology.
Sandra Harding describes the political commitments of Standpoint Theory and two sources of controversial views in “Standpoint Theories: Productively Controversial.” She argues that the political commitments of Standpoint Theory are: 1) the daily lives of the oppressed provide a richer standpoint for social analysis than the experiences of the privileged; 2) standpoint theorists “study up” because they deconstruct the realities and needs of the underprivileged; 3) the theory promotes collective achievement in understanding how social relations operate; and 4) the theory seeks to obtain data that is accurate, exhaustive, objective, and intersectional (Harding 194-195). Furthermore, the two sources of controversial principles are the changing political agenda of feminists and the clash of different disciplines and their related epistemology and ontology (Harding 196-197). Harding argues that feminists must see Standpoint Theory from a contextualized multidisciplinary view and accept plurality as a legitimate source of different understandings, and not as a limitation to feminist analysis (Harding 198). She concludes that Standpoint Theory has a significant role in diverse science fields because it emphasizes attention on troubling social realities and uneven social relations. This article is important in discussing the controversies that undercut the intersectional value of Standpoint Theory. It has the weakness of poor empirical testing of its analyses through applying Harding’s propositions to women’s groups.
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