Introduction to Sociology: Feminist Perspectives; 3rd Edition

Feminist sociology
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Property ownership also rested with men through most of the nineteenth century, with changes that allowed property purchasers to become owners, regardless of sex , coming between and Also note that in Canada it was not until the amendments to the Criminal Code that sales of contraceptives became legal, or that abortions became legal.

In Canada, there is now formal equality in most areas of social life, with women and men having the same legal rights. The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms in the Constitution Act states that "every individual is equal before and under the law and has the right to equal protection and equal benefit of the law without discrimination and, in particular, without discrimination based on race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, sex, age or mental or physical disability" Section S ection 28 states that "Notwithstanding anything in this Charter, the rights and freedoms referred to in it are guaranteed equally to male and female persons. Definitions of Sociology and the Social World. Each of Marx, Weber, and Durkheim developed a mode of analysis that defined the social world. For Weber and Durkheim this was an explicit aspect of their analysis. Marx differed somewhat in that he was primarily concerned with political economy and political action and did not define sociology as a separate form of analysis. Each of these writers did develop a definition of the social world, even if only implicitly, and proceeded to analyze it.

An Introduction to Sociology

F or feminists and contemporary sociologists, a major problem is that the classical definitions of the social world exclude large parts of human action and interaction. The emphasis on labour and the commodity for Marx, and the division of labour for Marx and Durkheim, provide an example of this. Marx looks on human labour as creative and as defining humanity. His critique of private property and capitalism is that this essence and creativity is taken away from labourers through the objectification proce ss.

Commodities have value to the extent that they are exchanged, and it is only those commodities which are exchanged which are part of capitalism and the Marxian model. Marx spends little time analyzing use values, taking them for granted. While Marxian analysis initially appears to consider all human labour, it quickly becomes clear that only labour exchanged for a wage is relevant to the model.

Family, household, reproduction, the supply of labour, and the survival of labourers outside the formal labour market are generally taken for granted by Marx. While he devotes some discussion to the value of labour power, Marx does not have an adequate theory of population or the supply of labour. Durkheim, concentrating on the division of labour, and its implications for social development and social solidarity, develops a similar approach.

That is, it is the division of tasks in the public economy that characterizes the division of labour. To the extent that the division of labour forms the basis for morality and organic solidarity in modern society, it is primari ly the activity of men that create this solidarity. Since the proper study of sociology is social facts, but women are absent from the creation of social facts, women are not the proper subject of sociology.

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An Introduction to Sociology: Feminist Perspectives (3rd ed.) Pamela Ann Abbott, Claire Denise Wallace, Melissa Tyler. Politics · Sociology · Education. *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. This third edition of this best-selling book confirms the ongoing centrality of feminist perspectives and research to the.

Another way that classical sociologists define the social world is through their categories and concepts. For Marx, class and class struggle, exploitation and surplus labour, and accumulation and crises have little to do with what women experience or d o. In summary, the social world of the classical sociologists generally excluded the actions of women. As a result, sociology as a discipline did not have much to say about women. While each of Marx, Weber, and Durkheim did have some comments on women and family, these were generally limited comments and their sociological models would be little different if women did not exist.

Classical sociologists appear to have thought that there were natural differences between men and women.

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In Chapter 11 we shall look at questions related to the status of feminist sociological knowledge, but the focus of this chapter is the plurality of feminist perspectives — frameworks for understanding and making sense of social relations in modern societies, which is the subject matter of sociology. What is necessary is to eliminate the sex distinction itself. Once an experiment is complete, a researcher determines whether the results or data gathered are what was predicted or assumed in the literature beforehand. Calhoun ed. Mann , C. Richardson , C.

This could be biological differences or socially developed differences that were not analyzed by sociologists. Biological differ ence such as strength or the ability to bear children might have been assumed. Or they may have assumed that there was an essential difference in human nature between men and women. While all people may have been regarded as rational human beings, with no difference between men and women, most of the classical sociologists thought of men and women as being somewhat different in their natures.

Sydie notes that "the female is associated with the world of nature" while men were associated with culture p. Or women were regarded as emotional or passionate, while men were rational in their thought and activities. For Durkheim this was especially ironic, given that he regarded human interaction as social, and as a sociologist he considered biological aspect s to have no direct connection with the social — yet women were somehow natural and connected to nature.

Classical sociologists generally focussed on differences and inequality. Marx was most explicit in this, but Durkheim and Weber also developed various ways of examining difference and inequality. Issues such as the division of l abour, exploitation, and power, domination, and authority emphasize difference and inequality. Feminists have identified patriarchy as a social syste m of inequality, but classical sociology had only limited analysis of this.

Discussion of Men, Women and Family in Suicide. Sydie discusses Durkheim's claims concerning male and female suicide rates, and his arguments about the broader issue of the dualism of human nature. With respect to suicide rates, Durkheim examine d male-female differences in suicide rates, and rates for married, divorced, widowed, single, etc. In general, he finds that women have lower suicide rates than do men, although there are different rates associated with different marital statuses and in different countries.

Single males and male divorcees are particularly subject to suicide. Sydie argues that this is based on Durkheim's view that marriage is better for men than for women. For men, marriage provides moral calmness and tranquillity, and in order to reduce the suicide rate of men, the institution of marriage should be strengthened. In contrast, women tend to be negatively affected by marriage. This is because their sexual needs are more biological and less mental than men's, the mental life of women is less developed, females are more instinctive, and females do not require the same degree of social regulation that men do.

Stronger marriage institutions would increase the female suicide rate and reduce the male rate.

Domestic Anomie. Suicides of divorced people are greater than those for other parts of the population, even more than for widows. The cause though is not divorce, but "the family condition predisposing to suicide" Suicide , p. Durkheim then goes on to examine what family condition creates this.

He argues that "marriage is more favorable to the wife the more widely practiced divorce is. Thus, it is husbands who contribute to the rise in the suicide rate in societies as divorce becomes more common. The cause of this is changes in the institution of marriage, and not the family itself. Where divorce is common, this weakens matrimonial regulation generally, not just the dissolution of the marriage.

This has a negative effect on men, making them less calm and tranquil, and men become more uneasy. In contrast, women' sexual needs are less mental because her mental life is less developed. Women are more instinctive and do not require as much social regulation in the form of marriage as do men. For women, marriage is less useful and the regulation of marriage does not have advantages for her.

As a result, divorce protects women, and women have frequent recourse to it.

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As the divorce rate increases, the increase in suicides of men is not the result of bad husbands, bad wives, or unhappy households. Rather, this increase results from a change in the moral structure of society -- a weakening of matrimonial regulation. Division of Labour. Sydie notes that Durkheim does not view men and women as sharing equally in social life as society and the division of labour develop. Women tend to be in positions where it is their natural and biological impulses are imp ortant to filling the position, and mental and other characteristics may be less well developed. That is, women are more suited to domestic and aesthetic occupations and roles.

In contrast, it is men who benefit from social life and moral regulation. Men' s mental capacities are better developed and they more clearly realize the difference between natural impulses and sensory perception on the one hand, and moral forces and activities on the other. Sydie argues that Durkheim's attempt to provide a sociolog ical explanation for the change in sex roles ultimately failed. In her view, Durkheim fell back on a biological argument, that males and females are inherently and biologically different -- and that this difference is socially expressed.

Feminism and Classical Sociology

This represents a failure in the sociological imagination for Durkheim, who was concerned to always explain the social causes of societal phenomena. Dualistic View.

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Sydie argues that there is a more general problem here. Durkheim had a dualistic view of human nature, looking on the soul as sacred and as regulated by the collectivity. The body is profane or secular and is not regulated b y society. The body is composed of sensations and is egoistic and personal. This duality is reflected in society, with society representing solidarity, the moral imperative, and regulation. Within modern society, each person has a double life, with indivi duality and personality, but with a greater need for collective coordination and constraint.

This parallels the division in sex roles. Men tend to become more aware of the conflict between the two, because men occupy positions within the division of labou r outside the household. This leads to a greater development of men's mental capacities, and men become more aware than do women of the nature of this duality. For men roles become more complex, and the institution of marriage as a means of moral regulati on is necessary. For women, the dualism is not as severe. Because their roles are more natural, and ones they are more naturally suited for, and because women have fewer needs, they have less need for regulation.

Sydie notes how this view of women as connected to nature and biology, with men more connected to a rational, regulated culture, is common to many writers in sociology. Many sociological models are built on social explanations of society, culture, econ omy, politics, etc. While Sydie is generally critical of Durkheim, there are a few positive points concerning sex roles that emerge from Durkheim's writings.

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First, Durkheim looked on early society as having men and women in relatively equal roles, or at least considerabl y less differentiated that they later became. He states that women did participate in war and politics, and considered some form of matriarchy to have been one of the original forms of kinship. Durkheim did not think that patriarchy always existed, or was a fundamental form.