Qualitative Research as Feminist Praxis: Can Men Do It?

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"Feminist praxis" is a somewhat elusive concept. Liz Stanley (1990) has used the term to incorporate feminist theory, research and epistemology whereas Patti Lather (1991) has drawn attention to the emancipatory nature of praxis in which theory must not only "illuminate the lived experience of progressive social groups (but) it must also be illuminated by their struggles." In this paper I will extend the meaning of the term "praxis" beyond these boundaries to incorporate both ontology and epistemology. I argue that a feminist ontological position involves reflection on the way of being in the world as an active female participant who examines and challenges the status quo in order to effect social change. Implicit in a feminist ontology is a feminist epistemology, that only women can be knowers of the subjective experience of being a woman. It is within this broadest sense that I will examine qualitative research as feminist praxis and hence challenge the debate regarding whether men can undertake feminist research.


Keywords: Qualitative Research, Feminism, Feminist Research, Gender
Stream: Research Methodologies, Quantitative and Qualitative Methods
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
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Dr Patricia Farrar

Senior lecturer, Faculty of Nursing, Midwifery & Health, University of Technology, Sydney
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Dr Patricia Farrar is a Senior Lecturer in the Faculty of Nursing, Midwifery & Health at the University of Technology, Sydney, Australia. She has taught undergraduate and postgraduate classes in women’s health and qualitative research methods, and has written and presented numerous papers on these topics. In 2000, she attended Frauenuniversitat (International Women's University) in Hannover, Germany and has continued to pursue her love of German language and culture. Her doctoral thesis, “Relinquishment and Abjection: A Semanalysis of the Meaning of Losing a Baby to Adoption”, drawing on the work of Julia Kristeva, has made a significant contribution to feminist research.

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