Dorothy Smith: History & Feminist theory
- Born on July 6, 1926 in Northallerton Yorkshire England to Tom and Dorothy Place and her three brothers.
- Dorothy Edith Smith is a Canadian sociologist with research interest in sociology and many other disciplines including women’s studies, psychology and educational studies as well as sub-fields of sociology including feminist theory, family studies and methodology. She also founded the sociological sub-disciplines of feminist Standpoint theory and institutional ethnography.
- Dorothy being born in England, at the current time it was hard to find a job where she lived. So she had a variety of jobs, she ended up doing secretarial work in the book publishing industry, until she was fed up and tried to get into publishing, but it was a no, for girls at the time. She eventually went to university and got a degree in sociology.
- When she came to the united states to go to graduate school, she met her husband, and gotten married with and had two children while getting her doctorate. She eventually started teaching Sociology, and was the only woman teaching in a faculty of forty four.In her intellectual life, there were three main moments: One was going to The London School Of Economics, and becoming fascinated with sociology.2nd was the second was a course given by Tamotsu Shibutani at Berkeley on George Herbert Mead which laid the groundwork for a later deep involvement with the phenomenology of Maurice Merleau-Ponty lastly was the women’s movement
- With Dorothy’s biggest change of life, she had decided that the women’s movement was for her. It led her to strange paths, and sociology was which she learned through practice. She taught at the University of British columbia and taught in one of the first women’s studies courses. She started with four other women, and there were no way of books or materials to teach, so she had to make it up.
- Was influenced by Karl Marx. His work became very important to her in many ways, partly because of the politics, but much more so as a method of thinking that helped her develop a sociology for women and what now think is thought of as a sociology for people.
- She came to Toronto to teach sociology for a Ontario institute for studies. Where she had met another feminist , Margrit Eichler, and Mary O’Brien OISE was progressive in its view of women, the sociologists were all feminists students, and this is when she wrote sociology for women she then wrote published a paper about developing a sociology for women/people with the idea of ‘beginning in the standpoint of a housewife and mother in the actualities of her everyday world and investigation of the social gain the convert actualities of the everyday and of every day doing things.’
- Her first formulation was “women’s perspective as a radical critique of sociology”. Where she had difficulty writing this before, because she had difficulty recognizing her own authority to speak, because of our male dominated society. Eventually she wrote for the women.
- She wrote and published many papers after them, one most recognized as Feminism and marxism: a place to begin, a way to go. Marxist feminism is a sub-type of feminist theory which focuses on the dismantling of capitalism as a way to liberate women. Marxist feminism states that private property, which gives rise to economic inequality, dependence, political confusion, and ultimately unhealthy social relations between men and women, is the root of women’s oppression in the current social context.
Best Known For
- Transformation of sociology, and feminist standpoint theory, to include, race, class and gender. Standpoint theory: One of the questions that Smith addresses is “How would sociology look from a woman’s standpoint?” In fact, one of her main concerns is to critique mainstream sociology that she views as implicitly or explicitly adopting a male-centred approach that supports the governing conceptual mode. For Smith, “All knowledge is knowledge from a particular standpoint and what which has been claimed as objective knowledge of society conceals a male bias.”
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