Alexandra Rutherford, Kelli Vaughn-Blount, and Laura C. Ball, Department of Psychology, York University.
RESPONSIBLE OPPOSITION, DISRUPTIVE VOICES: SCIENCE, SOCIAL CHANGE, AND THE HISTORY OF FEMINIST PSYCHOLOGY
Article first published online: 2 NOV 2010
©2010 Division 35, American Psychological Association
Psychology of Women Quarterly
Volume 34, Issue 4, pages 460–473, December 2010
How to Cite
Rutherford, A., Vaughn-Blount, K. and Ball, L. C. (2010), RESPONSIBLE OPPOSITION, DISRUPTIVE VOICES: SCIENCE, SOCIAL CHANGE, AND THE HISTORY OF FEMINIST PSYCHOLOGY. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 34: 460–473. doi: 10.1111/j.1471-6402.2010.01596.x
The research for this article was supported by a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Standard Research Grant to the first author. We thank Rose Capdevila, Eileen Zurbriggen, Rhoda Unger, Michael Pettit, Wade Pickren, and three anonymous reviewers for their extremely helpful comments and suggestions.
- Issue published online: 2 NOV 2010
- Article first published online: 2 NOV 2010
- Initial submission: May 18, 2009Initial acceptance: November 25, 2009Final acceptance: February 28, 2010
Feminist psychology began as an avowedly political project with an explicit social change agenda. However, over the last two decades, a number of critics have argued that feminist psychology has become mired in an epistemological impasse where positivist commitments effectively mute its political project, rendering the field acceptable to mainstream psychology yet shorn of its transformative vision. In this article, we explore the complexity of allying positivism with a transformative project using two illustrative examples from feminist psychology's history. Both Naomi Weisstein, whose work was catalytic in the creation of feminist psychology in the 1970s, and Ethel Tobach, who has consistently fought against sexism, racism, and other forms of injustice as both scientist and citizen, have remained committed to the scientific ideal without losing sight of their political projects. An examination of their efforts reveals the vital necessity, but ultimate insufficiency, of this position for creating large scale social change as well as a need for constant vigilance to the politics of knowledge in which science—and feminism—are embedded.