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The dirty history of feminism and sociology: Or the war of conceptual attrition

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

<mark>Journal publication date</mark>1/11/2008
<mark>Journal</mark>Sociological Review
Issue number4
Number of pages21
Pages (from-to)670-690
Publication statusPublished
Original languageEnglish


In the telling of the inscription of feminism into sociology, both space and time intervene. Institutionally some departments appear to be at the vanguard of feminist thought, others, as if feminism never happened. These uneven manifestations tell a story about people, place, power and struggle. Even feminism itself operates on different temporalities: while many feminists now 'forget' to address 'woman' as an object of their research, using instead debates from feminist theory about gender, life itself or relations, others continuing to generate important information on where women are and what they do. The gap between these two positions of object/no object is vast. Yet the perception of objects/subjects and their recognition through citation is central to the achievement of feminism within academia and this is where the struggle continues, as this paper shows. By showing how feminism has impacted upon sociology in a variety of ways: institutionally, theoretically, methodologically, politically, practically, it unearths how many different struggles on many different fronts continue. Rather than accepting the defeat or dilution of feminism this paper shows how feminism has inscribed some of the darkest and deepest recesses of sociology. But also how this is an achievement reliant upon repetition and attrition.