Realism, deconstruction and the feminist standpoint

Abstract
Feminist Standpoint Theory claims that by virtue of their social positioning women have access to, or can achieve, particular and/or better knowledge of gendered social relations. The epistemology, various versions of which are reviewed in the paper, has been criticised for over homogenising women. In its simplest form this critique claims that women’s diversity rules out communality and collective interests, and that FST unawarely takes white middle class Western women as representative. In its stronger, postructuralist form this critique undermines feminism by reducing the category ‘women’ to an effect of discourse whose referent is, and should be, constantly shifting. The paper argues for the reality of sex difference and puts forward a realist defence of a modified Feminist Standpoint Theory
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