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Hammersley (1992) identifies four broad themes in the argument for a feminist methodology: an acknowledgement of gender asymmetries, an emphasis on experience as opposed to “scientific” method, including research subjects as “co-researchers”, and an ultimate goal of emancipating women.

Hammersley notes the flaws in these underlying assumptions of a feminist methodology. First, the essentialization or privileging of gender as a research focus decontextualizes gender from other significant aspects of experience. He also suggests that reliance on experience to the exclusion of other methods may limit the ability to develop comprehensive knowledge of others’ experiences. Third, how desirable is eliminating the distinction between researcher and subject? Is the authority of the researcher in this relationship a domination of the subject such their experiences and knowledge are invalidated? Finally, that idea that there is ‘oppression’ and ’emancipation may be a little too “neat” for thinking about the complexities of power dynamics in real world relationships.

I’m curious about what others think about a “feminist methodology” ?


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