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Patricia Lengermann and Gillian Niebrugge

Subject Gender Studies
Sociology » Sociology of Sex, Gender, and Sexuality

Key-Topics feminism

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405124331.2007.x


Feminism is the system of ideas and political practices based on the principle that women are human beings equal to men. Feminism may be the most wide-ranging social movement in history, effecting change in the institutions, stratificational practices, and culture of nearly all societies. Its impact on sociology is the focus here. A study of this impact shows that sociology as an intellectual discipline and as a professional organization is itself deeply gendered, located in and affected by the society it attempts to study, and that its gendered character changes only in response to changes in the gender dynamics within society – changes in part produced by the action of feminist sociologists. As a system of ideas, feminism includes alternative discourses: liberal, cultural, materialist or socialist, radical, psychoanalytic, womanist, and postmodernist. Among these, liberal feminism and materialist feminism have been most important to sociology. Liberal feminism argues that equality with men means equal rights for women; it has focused on achieving those rights through political action, enlisting the state to prohibit practices of discrimination against women; while basically accepting the capitalist organization of society, it works for a more level playing field for women in that society. Materialist feminism attempts to incorporate Marxist or socialist ideas and focuses on social ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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