Creation of Dorothy Smith's standpoint epistemology : a feminist appropriation of male theorists / by Deirdre Mary Smyth.
Smyth, Deirdre Mary.
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One of Dorothy Smith's most important contributions to feminist theory was the development of her concept called'the standpoint of women' (Smith, 1979). This thesis traces the evolution of this concept In her work from her earliest intellectual beginnings to the present. It restricts the examination of Smith's writing to her work on ideology and the sociology of knowledge, giving attention to the male theorists that she has appropriated in her early writings and the emergence of a more autonomous framework In her recent publications. The thesis is constructed from a sociology of knowledge perspective, thus Smith's writings are contextualized in the socio-historical events that have shaped them, occurrences such as the Free Speech Movement and the Montreal Massacre. Data for the thesis includes Smith's original writing, secondary sources on her work and original interviews which I conducted with Smith about the intellectual development of her writing. In addition, the extent of Smith's Influence In Canadian sociology has been explored through: 1) A survey of several prominent Canadian feminist sociologists and the editors of a few feminist journals; and 2) A search of the Social Sciences Citation Index to discover where, how often and in what ways she has been cited. Chapter One introduces the predominant themes of the thesis. One of these themes is a method which begins inquiry from the personal, and another is the examination of epistemological autonomy in Smith's writing. Chapters 2 deals with the quantification of Smith's influence in sociology, through a the survey of feminist theorists and a citation analysis. Chapter 3 documents her intellectual beginnings at the London School of Economics and at the University of California at Berkeley. Marxist feminism and the domestic labour debate in feminist theory are the topic of Chapter 4. Chapter 5 traces the origin of the 'standpoint of women' and includes recent criticism. The Montreal Massacre and the possibility of an epistemological break in Smith's work are the subjects of Chapter 6. The thesis ends with an interpretation of how the male writers that Smith has chosen to appropriate have affected her work.