Sunday, November 16, 2008

Feminist Standpoint Theory

Feminist Standpoint Theory can be applied to individuals (in their environment), groups, and communities. The theory states that problems are created when the dominate group oppresses non dominate groups, and that oppression can be as passive as not realizing the realities of the non dominate group.

This theory originated with the idea that women understood women in society better than men, but has been expanded to include other oppressed populations such as people of color, gay and lesbian individuals, the elderly, children, and people in poverty.

According to Standpoint Theory, all theories that look at reality from a general standpoint are inherently looking at the realities of the dominant population.

If oppressed populations understand their world better than those from the outside, then appropriate societal change cannot be made for the oppressed population by the dominant population. Change must be lead by the oppressed group, because only they truly understand the reality of their situation.

Theory adapted from:
Robbins, S.P., Chatterjee, P., & Canda, E.R. (2006). Contemporary human behavior theory: A critical perspective for social work (2nd ed.). Boston: Pearson.

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