Edited By Adela Elena Popa, Hasan Arslan, Mehmet Ali Icbay and Tomas Butvilas
Feminist Epistemology and the Problem of Masculinity
1. Introduction In recent years, gender inquirers have raised fundamental challenges to the argu- ments of feminist epistemologies that have analysed women as an absolute, stable category. Feminist epistemologies have manifested the crucial points about mas- culinity and its hegemonic character. On the other hand, taking women’s problems as a matter of identity, feminists degrade the masculinity problem to biological reductionism or social situatedness. In this paper, I will examine how the di- chotomies, such as nature/culture, rational/irrational, or woman/man, produce hegemonic masculinity in a similar way. It is well known that in the last decades of the 20th century, the idea of the Enlightenment’s reason and rationality were an object of much criticism. These critiques share some common points with feminist philosophy and epistemology that try to overcome the dualism of mainstream philosophy. In this respect, both the old and modern conception of reason, objectivity, rationality, neutrality, or universality have been criticised by several feminist philosophers such as Sandra Harding, Donna Haraway, and Susan Hekman et al. Generally, the main problem of feminist critiques signify political and ethical aspects of the conception of reason which is based on masculinity and dominative practices that are sustained by dynamics of power relations reproduced through knowledge. According to the feminist critiques, if we get rid of the traditional conceptualisation of reason/rationality, we can develop new alternatives to the traditional conceptions, such as the new rationality conception, in order to de- mocratise the sphere of knowledge production. Thus, we come to the problem...
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