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Creating Knowledge the Feminist Way

Methods are the inner framework of any research. They determine to a large extent the process of knowledge generation. Critical science therefore always needs methodological reflection especially when methods and their applications are evolving dynamically. Feminist criticism in political science has been sparked off by the basic attitudes of positivism and reductionist conceptualizations of varied realities. As a result, feminist research has always been committed to the analysis of structural social inequalities. This is reflected in its epistemological approach to gender relations and their exploration. Feminist political science can and should follow a variety of methods. Thus, Femina Politica is launching a special issue on the topic of "Creating Knowledge the Feminist Way" in legacy of the first and only issue 1/1997 "Experience(s) with Method(s)".

Methods are the inner framework of any research. They determine to a large extent the process of knowledge generation. Critical science therefore always needs methodological reflection especially when methods and their applications are evolving dynamically. Feminist criticism in political science has been sparked off by the basic attitudes of positivism and reductionist conceptualizations of varied realities. As a result, feminist research has always been committed to the analysis of structural social inequalities. This is reflected in its epistemological approach to gender relations and their exploration. Feminist political science can and should follow a variety of methods. Thus, Femina Politica is launching a special issue on the topic of "Creating Knowledge the Feminist Way" in legacy of the first and only issue 1/1997 "Experience(s) with Method(s)". Since then, there have been significant methodological developments in the social sciences, as exemplified in the 'practice turn' or in the orientation to discourse. On the one hand, we want to reflect on the context of feminist research and its approaches of knowledge generation. To what extent does feminist research contribute to a better conceptualization of political processes and power relations and thus make them empirically ascertainable? On the other hand, methods are powerful instruments. We want to discuss the extent to which there has been a 'feminization' of different approaches to methods, whether certain areas of gender studies are dominated by certain methods, and whether we can speak of pressure to conduct quantitative research.

We invite contributions to the following topics:

1. Feminist Epistemologies

Within feminist research, several epistemological positions developed out of the critical examination of androcentrism. Some of these positions were opposed to each other. Can existing positions still be grouped into feminist empiricism, standpoint feminism and feminist postmodernism? What are the requirements of feminist epistemol ogy today regarding methodological instruments and their quality criteria/indicators of quality?

2. Methodologies

In feminist research, there exists a diversity of designs and approaches to knowledge. What characterizes these feminist methodologies and what broader insights emerge from queer feminist, anti-racist and postcolonial perspectives?

  • What standards methodological designs have to meet to be able to comprehensively describe, understand, explain and in the sense of an action research concept change gender relations?
  • Which criteria of research ethics can be derived from feminist methodologies? To what extent have they contributed to the further development of research designs,e.g. the experiment?

3. Methods

A broad spectrum of methods has developed within feminist political science.

  • What is the relationship between empirical and interpretative theories and analyses? To what extent can feminist political science contribute to overcome the division between quantitative and qualitative methods or to advancing integrative designs?
  • Are there genuinely feminist approaches or methods, for example, are the designs often qualitative or are participative methods used? What opportunities and restrictions are associated with case studies or small-N designs?
  • What are the ways to develop new concepts in a feminist way and to use them for data generation? We also invite contributions to specific measurement problems.

We are interested in analyses of the methods applied in the sub disciplines of political science.

  • Do the sub disciplines prefer different methods? What are the reasons and consequences in terms of content or scientific theory?
  • What are the benefits of participatory methods for findings and the implementation of research results?
  • What potential do applied methods have in political gender equality work and what do they rather conceal such as gender controlling, gender budgeting or diversity mainstreaming

4. Philosophy of Science

The scientific community, its funding and the teaching of scientific work have an influence on the use of methods.

  • To what extent is there a tightrope walk between feminist research ethics and the odds to win third-party funding? Are proposals with specific methods, large quantitative as well as qualitative data sets and a rather binary conceptualization of gender preferred?
  • Has the widespread application of quantitative methods made feminist research 'satisfiable ', so that insights gained in this way are more likely to be included in citation cartels while other results tend to be ignored?
  • What should and can be the cornerstones of feminist research that also apply to commissioned research and must be adhered to despite all research pragmatics?
  • To what extent have feminist convictions on methods and methodologies been integrated into academic education?

We welcome contributions that deal with these topics theoretically and/or empirically and cover a broad sub disciplinary spectrum of topics. We also invite empirical contributions that explain methodological problems on a meta-level.

Abstracts and Contact

Gesine Fuchs and Patricia Graf are the supporting editors for this issue. Abstracts of one or two pages should be sent to gesine.fuchs@hslu.ch and patricia.graf@businessschool-berlin.de or to redaktion@femina-politica.de by 31 May 2020. As a feminist journal promoting women inside and outside academia Femina Politica will prioritize qualified abstracts by women.

Submission Deadline for Contributions

The editors will select contributions from the abstracts and invite authors to submit full papers until 15 June 2020. The deadline for manuscripts between 35,000 and 40,000 characters (including spaces, notes, and bibliography), prepared for anonymous double blind review, is 15 September 2020. Information concerning the author should only be given on the title page. All manuscripts are reviewed by external reviewers (double blind) and editors. The reviews will be returned by 15 November 2020. The final selection will be based on the full-length paper. The deadline for the final version is 15 January 2021.