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Feminist approaches to sociological theory

Q.1(b) Feminist approaches to sociological theory have developed out of
historical sites of struggle for equality. Describe the strengths and
weaknesses of four (4) different feminist theoretical orientations.

Sociological theory is broadly concerned with structured forms
of social inequality. Therefore, sociologist generally attempt to approach
human behaviour and relations in terms of the particular social setting of
different social groups, classes and etc. However, feminist critics of
sociology have pointed out that sociological theorists have neglected gender
as a central principle of social differentiation.
Feminist sociologist argue that most sociological theory is
characterised by a 'malestream' view of the social world in which women are
either overlooked altogether or discussed as if they were identical to men.
The concept used most frequently to capture structured power relations
between the sexes is 'patriarchy'. This essay will discuss the strengths
and weaknesses of four different feminist theoretical orientations.
Liberal feminism

Liberal feminists are the least 'radical' of all feminist
perspectives. The main aim of the liberal feminists is the creation of
equal opportunities, particularly in education and work. Probably the most
positive thing liberal feminism has for itself is the fact that it has
contributed to considerable social change, especially in relation to
employment opportunities and conditions, and social policy.
Liberal feminist themselves have not produced a clearly developed
theory of gender, but they generally rely on role theory. One of the main
strengths of liberal feminism is that they aim for gradual change in the
political, economic and social systems of Western societies which, it is
assumed, will in turn transform gender roles. This is considered a strength
because it is a reasonable and realistic accomplishment. Li...

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