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Feminism, sociology of scientific knowledge and postmodernism: politics, theory and me

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article


Journal publication date05/1996
JournalSocial Studies of Science
Number of pages24
Original languageEnglish


Is postmodernism debilitating for feminists approaching science? is the actor-network approach, which rejects dualisms and universalism, politically impotent Or is such a critique epistemologically conservative? I explore these questions by drawing on empirical research examining the UK Cervical Screening Programme (CSP). Specifically, I attempt to answer the question of whether or not women should participate in the CSP and undertake a cervical smear test Because the CSP is constantly changing as participants' identities multiply in negotiation, I propose that there is no stable paint from which a single decision about lay participation can be made, however politically useful it may be to do so, I demonstrate my discomfort with talking about whether women should or should not participate. Given the dynamic nature of the Programme, a 'should' discourse is inappropriate, and can also be guilt-inducing and oppressive to women. My preference is for a discourse which emphasizes that women could participate.