Both women sociologists and Du Bois espoused a "standpoint theory."  What does standpoint theory mean in terms of the theoretical work of women and minorities? 

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The main way that standpoint theory is applied to issues of concern to women is through feminist standpoint theory, which grows out of W. E. B. Du Bois's formulation. Standpoint is one aspect of situated knowledge, which emphasizes the contexts of knowledge production rather than consider knowledge as an abstraction that is equally acquired in all contexts. Du Bois has been especially influential through the idea of dual or "bifurcated" consciousness, seeing things from the perspectives of both the dominant and the oppressed so as to enable comparative evaluation of both perspectives.

Standpoint theories emphasize multiple perspectives and acknowledge that some are privileged over others. Identifying the social location of those privileged perspectives is one key step. Inverting that proposition, standpoint theory identifies perspectives of disadvantaged peoples and shows how and why they differ from the dominant classes. Emphasizing the standpoints of the disadvantaged serves to de-naturalize knowledge by showing how it develops and is interpreted in different social realities. While Marxist theory has been a strong influence, recent work emphasizes many other perspectives besides class, especially race and gender.

Feminist standpoint theory challenges and emphatically de-naturalizes stereotypical gendered attributes, such as "masculine reason" contrasted to "feminine emotion." Emphasizing social location helps show how such ideas develop and are reinforced through gendered segregation in education, work, and in the home. Challenging assumptions about the bases of knowledge production has been an important step in, for example, increasing female participation in math and science.

For minorities as well, it is important to identify differences of perspective along with evaluating the influence of those positions both on the development of ideas and others’s perceptions of those positions. The racialization of specific kinds of knowledge and related assumptions about rationality and intelligence need first to be acknowledged in order to understand their historic and social formation. Furthermore, the intersections of class, gender, and race perspectives—as DuBois partly anticipated contemporary intersectionality theory—must be addressed as overlapping and sometimes contradictory influences, such that a change to one area will unevenly affect all others.

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Standpoint theory is a postmodern sociological theory that emphasizes the relationship between social location and knowledge or perspective. Standpoint theory suggests that an individual's perspective is rooted in his or her social identity. This identity might include race, class, gender, nationality, religion or ethnicity.

Standpoint theory also examines the way in which knowledge is constructed within hierarchical structures such as academia. W.E.B. Du Bois and feminists sociologists use standpoint theory in order to illuminate issues of race, gender and class when it comes to the construction of knowledge. These theorists seek to destabilize the idea of knowledge as objective. Instead, they argue, knowledge is socially constructed and thus reflects the power dynamics of society at large.

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