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Feminist Social Research Methods

1. The Feminist Critique of Mainstream/Malestream Sociology

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In this lecture, we think about feminist critiques of traditional, sometimes called malestream, sociology, focusing in particular on: (i) the characteristics of early, male-dominated social research, such as its emphasis on male experiences and the public sphere and its use of positivist methods; (ii) criticisms of positivist methods in sociology with the arrival of greater numbers of women in academia from the mid-twentieth century; (iii) key feminist critiques of traditional research; (iv) the emphasis in feminist research on the research process, and on producing knowledge which contributes to social change.


In this course, Professor Gayle Letherby (University of Plymouth) explores ideas and methods associated with feminist social research. In the first lecture, we consider feminist critiques of traditional sociological research. In the second lecture, we look at the ways in which feminist scholars incorporate gender and other differences into their research. In the third lecture, we think about issues of emotion and sensitivity in the research process. Next, we turn to feminist engagements with qualitative and quantitative methodologies. In the fifth lecture, we consider feminist approaches to epistemology. In the sixth and final lecture, we consider ideas of objectivity and subjectivity, and the place of politics and values in the research process.


Professor Gayle Letherby is Honorary Professor of Sociology at the University of Plymouth. Her areas of interest include social research methods, particularly feminist methodologies, and the sociology of the family. She is co-author of Introduction to Gender: Social Science Perspectives (2014) and Objectivity and Subjectivity in Social Research (2013), and author of Feminist Research in Theory and Practice (2003).

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APA style

Letherby, G. (2021, August 31). Feminist Social Research Methods - The Feminist Critique of Mainstream/Malestream Sociology [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Letherby, G. "Feminist Social Research Methods – The Feminist Critique of Mainstream/Malestream Sociology." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 31 Aug 2021,

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