Practicing Feminisms, Reconstructing Psychology

Notes on a Liminal Science
Jill Morawski
Explores how science can accommodate feminist inquiry and how feminism can make use of science


Practicing Feminisms, Reconstructing Psychology is a valuable survey of developments to date in feminist psychology and a provocative assessment of its future possibilities. For many psychologists engaged with the questions raised by modern feminism, the reconciliation of scientific methods and feminist commitments has been a complicated and sometimes perplexing project. In her book, Jill Korawski attempts to move beyond the apparent impasses toward a constructive feminist psychology.

The book assesses the substantive advances feminist psychology has made and proposes ways in which those transformations can lead to new research and methodologies. These transformative interventions, Morawski argues, have often consisted of local and partial alterations to established methods rather than a programmatic "metatheory" or a formulaic methodology. She reviews a variety of exemplary studies that demonstrate how such intermittent practices, taken together, constitute a groundwork for radically new forms of psychological inquiry.

The study describes feminist challenges to long-held conceptions of objectivity, subjectivity, and validity and examines emergent problems and ongoing debates. The feminist innovations discussed reveal the impossibility of a pure and abstract objective stance and demonstrate the feasibility of situated and critical objective practices. Morawski also shows how experimental investigative strategies are generating new perspectives on subjectivity, which incorporate agency as well as dependence, reflection as well as reactivity.

Feminist inquiry is modifying the procedures through which knowledge is warranted, with different evaluations of validation processes. Despite the transformations in these area, the pursuit of a feminist psychology remains in transition, in a "limited" space. Among the emerging issues Morawski explores are vicissitudes of reflexivity, the investigator's self, and the cultural bases of psychology knowledge.

Praise / Awards

  • " . . . an original and valuable contribution that addresses many important issues at the cutting edge of new theory in this area. The author deals with feminist psychology both as it is understood by psychologists and as it is appropriated in other academic fields."
    —Rachel Hare-Mustin, Villanova University
  • ". . . a much needed study. It exemplifies a socially and politically reflected psychological thinking. . . . Jill Morawski has written the definitive book on feminist psychology."
    Feminism & Psychology
  • "Morawski systematically critiques the position(s) of feminist empiricists and reviews the perspectives of feminist epistemologists. Within this context, she provides a thoughtful discussion of existing feminist research in psychology, pointing out positive aspects as well as pitfalls. For example she provides a critical review of research (and theory) on androgyny, feminism, and gender differences."
    Psychology of Women Quarterly
  • ". . . an absolutely marvelous book. In is impressive in its command of the nature of psychological science and the place of feminist psychology within and against that tradition."
    Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society
  • "[Morawski[ seeks a science in which practitioners reflexively embrace a cultural analysis of their practices as part and parcel of the knowledge they produce. Practicing Feminisms shows us how such a science can proceed and offers glimpses of the rich new knowledge it would yield."
    —Jeanne Marecek, Swarthmore College, Theory & Psychology, Volume 9, No. 6

Look Inside


Introduction     1

Chapter 1. Feminisms and Psychologies     9
Interchapter. Betwixt and Between     53

Chapter 2. Objectivity     73
Interchapter. Reflexivity: Observer Positions     117

Chapter 3. Subjectivity     139
Interchapter. Reflexivity: Subject Positions     179

Chapter 4. Validity     205

Conclusions     239

References     247

Index     269

Product Details

  • 6 x 9.
  • 288pp.
Available for sale worldwide

  • Paper
  • 1994
  • Available
  • 978-0-472-06481-6

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  • $30.95 U.S.