PYC2604 - Community Psychology
Chapter Two: Critical reflections on community and psychology in SA
What is community? Community refers to a sense of coherence that enables people to make sense of their social actions, interaction and thought processes.
- Shared experiences among community members contribute to a common character
- Ubuntu is key to community life
- A group of people who live / work in a common geographical place. Diverse group of people, constantly debating and negotiating ways of living and working together in varying degrees of harmony and conflict.
- Community of interest = Christian / community of place = residents of Lonehill.
· Connotations of community – in SA – this automatically refers to economically disadvantaged groups (Black SA)
· Community has come to operate as a code word for race / racial difference.
· Term “communities” playing a role in a greater discourse of avoidance of issue of race and privilege.
· “White communities” not heard of which indicates a history of structural privilege.
Challenges to community Psychologists. Rhoads challenges practitioners to:
1. Situate practice within communities they serve & Rethink their relationship with these communities
2. Focus on social transformation – initiative aimed at helping reorganize human relationships through challenging oppressive structures and relationships and changing systems that represent injustice.
3. Community psychology relatively new concept to SA – however this must not undermine African’s communal lifestyle, values and traditions
4. Academics criticized for knowledge-production that is self-serving, with little regard and exclusion of, marginalized groups.
5. Psychologies are cultural derivatives of western values system
6. Psychologists are challenged with accurately documenting African practices and rituals found in African communities.
7. Local knowledge, stories, folklore and rituals. Indabas – traditional court and cleansing ceremony. By fostering community narratives that represent such practices, community psychologists safeguard historic traditions.
ü Intervention strategies of community psychologists are influenced by their value systems, beliefs – which have implications for their relationship with the community.
ü Academic psychological knowledge must recognize the importance of learning about local cultures and understanding them from within their own frame of reference. i.e. circumcision considered dangerous but there is an important underlying value – social and cultural significance that cannot be dismissed.
Collectivism – Social interaction that fosters social harmony and continuity – extended families share problems.
Strong sense of connectedness between human life, nature and the spiritual world.
Physical and mental illness is a result of disturbance in the harmony between human nature and the cosmos.
Critical community practice
· Social work
· Public health practitioners – strategies for ensuring the public benefits through health promotion.
· EMPOWERMENT– Structural changes made so that power is reallocated, which has a simultaneous development of a certain state of mind (feeling powerful, competent, worthy of esteem)
· Community psychology offers multiple resources for engaging with community – a combination of methods that draw families groups and communities together in order to articulate needs and problems through processes that draw on their local practices and believes. Popular theatre that is culture specific.
· Psychology previously seen as treatment for white affluent, therefore regarded suspiciously by liberatory oriented.
· Community psychology, to be accepted, has to be expressed differently.
· Critical community perspective provides assumptions for developing a praxis that can give liberatory service to the community.
· Critical community practice is challenged to recognize that inclusion is a central tenet of progressive psychology. This core value of critical community psychology intersects with the African tradition of hospitality towards outsiders.
· Critical community psychology needs to be aware of exclusionary practices and discourse (xenophobia). Community psychology should avoid being the handmaiden of politics. As seen in the government’ refusal to supply HIV / AIDS victims with ART’s. Such a critical community practice would need to be aware of how the concept of ‘otherness’ comes to be perpetuated.
PRAXIS – BRING ABOUT SOCIAL AND PERSONAL TRANSFORMATION USING REFLECTION AND ACTION.
Africanist community practice
Ø The perspective one takes towards a particular phenomenon influences ones understanding of and response to, that phenomena.
Ø ILIMA = community engagement, social gathering to work on any activity or project on behalf of neighbor and extended to outsiders.
Critical community research methods
Historically, community research objectified communities, particularly those marginalized from power and resources.
Practitioners tested theories with disregard to the benefits to community.
Critical community practice requires that researchers take cognizance of the potential impact that research may have on those involved and strive to ensure the community members benefit from the research.
Underlying principles of community research:
1. It is stimulated by the communities needs
2. It is an exchange of community resources.
3. It is a tool for social action
4. Evaluation of social action is an ethical imperative
5. It yields products useful to the community.
Community research is not about contemplation and knowledge, it should focus on helping communities to transform and improve themselves.
LIBERATORY APPROACH TO COMMUNITY PRACTICE
1. CARING AND COMPASSION
3. SELF-DETERMINATION AND PARTICIPATION
4. SOCIAL AND CULTURAL DIVERSITY
5. SOCIAL JUSTICE AND ACCOUNTABILITY
→ Shift towards ecological understanding of people
→ Personal (Micro) Relational (Meso) Collective (Macro) contexts taken in to account.
→ Problems reframed in terms of social context and cultural diversity
Experiential learning approach – emphasis on experiences, stories and listening. Establishes trust, openness, warmth. This climate emphasizes self-knowledge through interaction, introspection and risk taking.
Experiential Learning cycle
PREPARATION →ACTIVITY & EXPERIENCE → REFLECTION → ANALYSIS → INTEGRATION & ONGOING EVALUATION
CRITICAL PSYCHOLOGY = A movement that challenges psychology to work towards emancipation and social justice and that opposes the use of psychology to perpetuate oppression and injustice.
Praxis is a cycle of action – reflection – action; which is central to liberatory education.
- Self-determination and free choice vs. coercion and force
- Intentional and purposeful living vs. reacting to societies demands
- Creativity vs. conformity
- Rational understanding & living vs. driven by chance.
PRAXIS implies that to bring about social transformation → requires
1. REFLECTION: Self-awareness, self-consciousness, sound theoretical understanding of the conditions of oppression and illness
2. ACTION: Activism, consciousness-raising, demonstrating support and lobbying for change. Collective participation for social justice.
Banking model of education – Paulo Freire
→ Students = empty minded shells that need to be filled with facts by lecturers so that they can become knowledgeable experts.
→ Implies that students are: Voiceless, only able to reproduce facts in parrot-like manner. Uncritical and disempowered. “Learning from the neck up”
METAPHORS: Giving one thing a name, description or characteristic that belongs by convention to something else, on the grounds of some similarity between the two. Slow as a snail.
→ Filter, fusion, lens, presence, screen, tension, displacement, stereoscopic image, linguistic play, false identity, contextual shift, translation of meaning, twinned vision.
KNOWLEDGE: Constructed by people and enables us to understand and interpret ourselves and our world and communicate these understandings through language.
A theory that our ways of understanding are not rigidly fixed, but are intricately related to our social and cultural relations. Our understandings, interpretations and knowledge is dependent on our though constructions through which we see. Therefore our views about ourselves are dependent on where we grew up, any spoken or written account is culturally framed.
DISCOURSES = systems of meaning and ideas. Languages are filled with discourse.
Modernist discourse about science and psychology assumes reality is ‘out there’ and we can know it objectively. Facts and theories. “Fortification of Knowledge” (Collins)
INSTRUMENTAL VALUES: Efficiency, profit, rules and procedures, order
TRANSFORMATIVE VALUES: caring and compassion, health, self-determination & participation, social and cultural diversity, social justice and accountability
Chapter Three – Social psychology and research methods.
EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN RESEARCH METHOD
ü Controlled environment, where one detail could be changed and the effects thereof observed.
ü Results are not influenced by outside factors
ü Clear relationship of cause and effect – results quantified.
ü Findings in the lab might not hold true in complex social worlds. Experiments are considered trivial with artificial situations unlike real world, which then undermines the meaningfulness of the results.
Discourse analysis attempts to work out, from what people are saying, what underlying system of ideas is structuring their thoughts, words and experiences.
Traditional view of language: Reality of things exists independently of our perceptions of things and words are just labels. Observer sees and describes what is happening and allows no perception influence by error or bias.
Discourse analysts view of language: Language is NOT a set of labels that we use, but are systems of organization that shape the way we experience things.
Language organizes our perceptions and thoughts by giving us categories and concepts that we use to interpret sensory information.
DISCOURSES are systems of meaning that operate at individual, social, cultural and historical levels. They inform how we interpret and understand our lived experience. NOT speeches / conversations, but: Broad patterns of talk, clusters of ideas, and systems of statements → that underlies and informs.
They are studied in an attempt to work out, from what people in a particular group are saying, what underlying system of ideas is structuring the way they think and experience things.
· Discourse of power and discourses of responsibility identified in research on GENDER and HIV / AIDS
· Male vs. Female Power
- Economic / Education / Virile / Sexual needs of men which woman have to accept due to social discrimination.
· Responsibility – male absolved due to social positioning of woman as primary caregivers.
· Aids prevention is not a matter of education or understanding of individual reactions to HIV / AIDS but rather an understanding of the social arrangements that empower or disempower people.
· People have the ability to challenge and change discourses.
Chapter Four: Psychology, an African perspective.
WORLDVIEW: A set of basic assumptions that a group of people develops in order to explain their reality and their place and purpose in the world. It shapes attitudes, values, opinions, and the way we think and behave.
Mainstream Modern Psychology.
→ Objective, value-free, universal science
→ Knower is solitary object, with no contextual particulars of sex, race, culture which are seen as superficial.
→ Culture seen as an impediment to demonstrating universal processes such as motivation, perception and emotion.
→ Psychic unity- all humans are the same, with the same underlying psychological processes.
→ Sees the self as self-contained or independent. Autonomous, defined in terms of internal attributes of thoughts and emotions, independently of social and contextual factors.
→ Is interested in objective knowledge that is unaffected by the knowers values and meanings.
→ Mainstream modern psychology is a cultural colonizer by imposing knowledge, values and ideas from the so called developed world.
→ Forms part of HEGEMONY = domination of one powerful groups ideas and interest, over another’s.
→ Is exclusively based on the world view of white middle aged class.
→ Seeks a panacea (cure-all remedy) to all illness and disease.
→ Ignores culture, worldviews and the role of discourses in languages.
→ Assumes ethnic divergence and takes into account the difference in people’s languages, philosophies and world views.
→ Psychology is not value-free; it needs to engage with values and meaning systems of both the researchers and the actors.
- Subject and object living together. Require each other and are
- self and other dynamically and dialectically and jointly
- Psyche and culture make each other up.
- person and context
- figure and ground
A critical approach to psychology
→ Interested in values and meanings and how these influence knowledge.
→ Locates human values, motivations and behaviors in their culture and class contexts.
→ Focuses on the lived experiences of people
→ Focus on marginalized peoples reflections on life
→ Addresses problems of illiteracy, disintegration of extended family systems, poverty, alienation and other social issues.
A critical African perspective on psychology = An Indigenization of psychology = attempt to blend and transform foreign models and make them suitable to local cultural contexts.
→ Assumes that existence is concrete and particular (not universal) but takes into account differences in people’s languages, worldviews and philosophies.
→ Joins with cultural psychology – how cultural traditions and social practices regulate, express and transform the human psyche.
→ Sees the self as interdependent, defined in terms of relationships with others.
→ Sees culture and worldview as a meaning systems. Different worldviews can interpenetrate.
→ Criticizes acculturation and the marginalization of African and other knowledge systems.
→ Has an emancipatory aim, to address the needs of society – AIDS, illiteracy, poverty.
→ Components of the worldview are time orientation, people-nature orientation, relational orientation and human activity.
The African Worldview.
→ Psychologies are connected to underlying metaphysical ontologies that order things into good/bad and right / wrong about conditions of life.
4 interdependent philosophical assumptions.
a. The hierarchy of beings
b. The notion of vitality or life force
c. The principal of cosmic unity
d. The communal view of personhood.
a. The hierarchy of beings
- All things in the universe are connected ontologically to one another. Each object or organism is dependent upon and capable of influence and being influenced by others.
- The nature and direction of influence is determined by the amount of life force possessed by each object.
§ Does not rule from a distance, is omnipresent and holistic
§ Rarely invoked directly – only via ancestors.
INTEGRATED ANCESTORS (INZINYANYA)
§ Communicates with God on relatives behalf
§ Rituals are performed for them.
§ It is through ancestors that humans communicate with God.
§ Ancestors world is analogous (similar) and contiguous (touching) to humans. They continue to interact with and remain interested in the affairs of their relatives.
§ Humans to perform rituals (ukubuyisa)
§ To allow integration to inyanya.
§ Cannot communicate with God
INTERMEDIATE WORLD: HUMANS
PLANTS & INANIMATE OBJECTS – very little life force
b. Vitality / Life Force
→ Energy or power that is the essence of all phenomena – material or immaterial.
→ Principle of life force cannot be reduced to the quality of being alive.
→ “life” is a reference to the relationship between the person and their milieu (environment)
→ Life forces in constant interaction with each other and can be manipulated to bring about unfortunate events.
c. The principals of cosmic unity
→ Cosmic unity – there is a connection between God, Izinyanya, humans, animals and plants – everything in this system is perpetually in motion, influencing and being influenced.
→ The universe is seen as organic and ecological, little / no distinction is made between nature and culture.
→ Causality is understood to be linked to the interaction of life forces.
→ Holistic – elements of the whole are contained in each part.
→ Knowledge is gained through participation and connection, not through separation and abstraction.
→ The observer (researcher / psychologist) is part of the system that is observed and influences it profoundly. (Western perspective – knower stands apart from the object of knowledge)
d. Communal life and personhood.
→ In African scholarship - Community is a collection of individuals whom get together (despite private preferences) as they realize in association they can accomplish things which they would not be able to accomplish otherwise.
→ NOT Atomistic (separate / diverse)
→ Through participation in a community, one finds meaning in life.
→ PERSONHOOD defined in terms of community, not the self.
→ Personhood is an ongoing process, it must be earned, and one becomes a person as one ‘goes along’ in society.
→ Personhood is relationally defined (Ubuntu)
→ Due to interdependence between individuals and the community, parental responsibilities reside with the community as a whole.
→ The relationship between an individual and the community is multi-directional. Achievements of the outstanding individuals will transform the community to a higher level of functioning.
→ Fingers = members of community
→ Hand = whole community, which is incomplete without fingers.
→ Family community constitutes relatives, living and deceased (inzinyanya)
→ Totemic system – object that serves as an emblem of a clan / family.
Due to multiple influences and cultural cross-pollination, the perspectives of an African psychology is continuously changing.
Modernistic worldview is based on CARTESIAN DUALISM – mind (thought) and matter (body and world) are separate – embraces order and control, eternal progress.
PARTICIPATORY WORLDVIEW – systemic, holistic, sensitive, relational & PARTICIPATORY. As we participate in creating our world we are also created and supported by our world. Laszlo - whispering pond – a seamless whole in which the parts are constantly in touch with each other. Integrated, interacting, self-consistent and self-creative whole.
COMPONENTS OF A WORLD VIEW
1. TIME ORIENTATION
Ø Western society – emphasis on the future
Ø Indigenous – emphasis on the past and present. Relationship one has with ancestors and community.
2. PEOPLE-NATURE ORIENTATION
Ø Indigenous – external forces beyond ones control (God / Ancestors) determine life. Nature and people co-exist interdependently.
Ø Western Society - emphasis is on control over the environment.
3. HUMAN ACTIVITY
Ø Indigenous - being or ‘being- in becoming’ – values harmony with others and social milieu.
Ø Western – values doing over being. One’s value emanates from ones accomplishments.
4. RELATIONAL ORIENTATION – how the self is defined in relation to the other and the environment.
Ø Indigenous – self is determined by ones relationships with family, communities.
Ø Western – Self is independent, autonomous, defined in terms of personal, internal attributes.
Chapter five - Bakhtins theory of dialogism
→ Dialogue = interchange of ideas between two equally responsive subjects.
→ Meaning is constructed actively and dialogically in our encounter with the other. It also emanates from the persons encounter with his/her social world.
→ The meaning of statements can only be grasped in the context of the relationships between speakers.
Bakhtin’s dialogism leads to a self that is always engaged in relationships with others and in the social context’. Think of yourself in relationships with other people and in your social surroundings. Who are you when you are with people, how do you interact with close ones and those who are not so close? How does your life reflect the relationships you are in and the social contexts that you find yourself in? How do you communicate with people? How do they perceive you? Etc.
Life as authoring – the world is not given, but conceived.
→ We make sense of ourselves and the world through an active process of engagement, and hence come to know our place in it.
Horizons of understanding = what has already been established within a given sphere of communication constitutes the background against which we act.
Dialogical self and innovation (self-renewal)
· The dialogical self is always challenged by questions, disagreements and confrontations. It is always becoming, oriented towards the future, and continually challenged to reposition itself in light of new information.
· The dialogue between voices (voice of reason vs. voice of desire for something) can lead to a new away of seeing oneself and the world.
The UNFINALISABILTY of the self: high degree of openness, never fixed in advance. The self is always challenged to further growth, repositioning itself based on new information received from its social environment.
i. Personhood and becoming in African thought
Personhood – defined in terms of becoming. The person in Africa is never a finished product – they are perpetually in the making.
Participation in community of others allows one to become fully human (rituals of transformation)
ii. Vigilance regarding oppressive practices
Objection to initiation rituals (female circumcision)
The theory of dialogism allows us to eliminate oppressive elements, while retaining the social and cultural significance of them.
iii. Initiation: Passage from exteriority to interiority
Initiation – slow transformation
SELF KNOWLEDGE is the basis of all knowledge in African thought.
Self-knowledge does not stem from internally held principles, but rather from a person’s relationships with others and social milieu.
Self-knowledge moves from the direction of social environment to the internal world of the individual.
iv. Ubuntu as a process
Ubuntu is about becoming.
Becoming manifests itself in the relationship between the person and others, including the surrounding environment.
v. The human being as a community of selves.
African thought = the self is multiple. They carry within them their ancestral component, the present self and the self yet to be born (still becoming)
vi. Tension between selves.
Selves within a person always engaged in interplay, where conflict can arise.
i.e. Izinyanya (ancestors) call a person to become a healer, however the spiritual self struggles with the individual personality.
Chapter Six – Frantz Fanon and Racial Identity
→ Defined as a set of social and cultural understandings through which we come to know and experience ourselves.
→ These understandings play an important role in who we, and others, understand ourselves to be.
→ A theoretical perspective that seeks to understand the relationships of domination and resistance that manifest when one culture owns or controls another culture during the era of formal colonialism, and after the end of formal colonialism (for example, globalisation)
→ The sense of separation in the relationship of the Black self and things, and views around self.
→ “White man creates Black man.” It links the internal and external world as objects of racism. Black is seen as ‘not-white.’
→ It is a sense of separation from one’s own racial identity. Estrangement (Marx).
→ The concept of racial alienation seeks to show the sense of separation in the relationship of the Black self and things, objects and others around itself. The individual person’s estrangement from him/herself.
Internalized violence: conflict in the marginalized identity of the colonial subject.
Cultural dispossession: Alienation through language
→ There is alienation from a person’s root culture through language, and adopting the language of oppressor in order to be accepted.
→ Lactification is shown in the wish to be white, for example, by using skin lighteners, changing accent or natural hair
→ The result of attempts to configure black identity within the coordinate of (racist) white culture.
→ The more the colonized succeeds in the white culture, the more distanced they become from their home culture.
How Whiteness defines Blackness
→ Racial categories are mutually dependent terms.
→ The apparent superiority of whiteness requires the systematic devaluation of blacks.
→ Manichean way of thinking is thinking that believed in the supposed primeval conflict between light and darkness, God and Satan.
→ Binary logic which splits all concepts into pairs of opposites, one negative (black) and one positive (white). The racist comes to be reliant on the object of his or her hatred and racism as a means of qualifying and affirming his or her own supposed superiority.
→ The natives supposed inferiority only comes into being through the mediation of the white other.
→ In the presence of a dominant and/or oppressive culture, minority groups, who do not significantly share in the power holding of a society, must make sense of themselves, understand themselves in terms of the racist and inferiority-inducing terms and values of that society, terms that are evaluative and pre-set so as to affirm Whiteness over Blackness, masculinity over femininity and heterosexuality over homosexuality.
Steve Biko and Black Consciousness
→ Black identity is a state of mind more than an expression of origin (according to Biko). This view sees the (Black) self as bad, and white as good. However, blackness is also a form of solidarity providing collective hope and security to build up their humanity, and that affirms group pride and self-respect.
→ Black Consciousness refers to the black man being subjected to two forces in South Africa. External world (laws, heavy work conditions, poor education) and the Black man himself has developed a state of alienation, rejecting himself because he attaches the meaning White to all that is good.
Chapter Seven - Feminist Critical psychology in SA
Feminism in an African Context
Gender Relations and how gender as a cultural construct can be manipulated as a tool of oppression, where men are able to occupy positions of social power over woman.
→ Woman are not a homogeneous group
→ Race, ethnicity, class, language, rural / urban division’s → social identity makers that break commonalities.
→ Feminism based on western and Eurocentric philosophy, which is problematic for a non-western context.
→ Therefore a feminism that acknowledges and actively engages with every woman’s perceived differences, and resulting subjective experience of gender.
→ African feminism would consider political / economic and sociocultural contexts to be crucial to theorizing and exploring gender indemnity development.
→ Emphasis on areas in social / political life that are influenced by gender = health, AIDS
Prospects and challenges for feminist theory and practice in Africa: Focus on HIV/ AIDS
The gendering of HIV/AIDS in SA
African feminist agenda
Prioritizing and exploring features of African culture and tradition – should aim to deconstruct those features which function to the subordination of the African woman. Resist customs that oppress and degrade.
i. Virginity testing – the construction of female sexuality as pure and chaste may position African woman as moral guardians for their cultural values and traditions.
→ By placing emphasis on women’s gender roles, men are absolved from sexual responsibility.
ii. Challenging violence against woman.
→ Woman are globally subordinated on the basis of their gender
→ Intellectual pursuit considered a male domain, therefore male education prioritized over woman’s.
iii. Society builds the way man and woman interact + biological differences between men and woman. Both need to be considered in psychological theories.
iv. Rape: stereotypical views about male / female sexuality used to explain incidences of rape.
→ Victims ask to be raped as they are sexually active / promiscuous
→ Sexual aggression is just an instance of mean acting out their hormonal nature / they have natural virility
→ ‘Normal’ and ‘abnormal’ = us vs. them – labeling adds to oppression. And through social / cultural arrangements, gender relations are contextualized and accepted as normal and abnormal.
The system of patriarch maintains and sustains structures of dominance.
Chapter 8 – Heterosexuality
Gender power inequalities leave woman with little power to assert their needs or negotiate for their safety or pleasure.
Gender and power inequalities in sexuality
Ø Poverty affects women more than it does men.
Ø Majority of 3rd world / African woman poor due to colonial heritage and gender inequalities.
Ø Woman therefore more vulnerable to HIV infection.
Ø They will engage in sexual practice for economic gain – young woman get involved with older men for money / status.
Ø Men seek younger women for sex to avoid STI’s - coercive sexual practices.
Ø Rape of young girls / babies – in the believe that sex with virgins will cure/ protect them from HIV / AIDS
Male power and woman’s lack of negotiation in sexual relationships
Ø Traditional gender roles, together with / aside from social economic factors, play a role as barriers to safe sex practices.
Ø Women are culturally expected to be passive, submissive partners.
Ø Men expected to initiate, be active and lead women – control relationship and sexuality
Ø Male sexuality – due to cultural constructions of gender – is considered to be very strong, uncontrollable “Male sexual drive discourse” which plays a role in woman’s lack of negotiation in heterosex.
Ø Women are seen to be asexual and strangers to sexual matters, men need to show them how.
Ø Women must focus on the relationship and love – and sexuality on legitimized for them if attached to these factors.
Ø Condoms seen as symbols of lack of trust or infidelity
Ø Un-macho for men
Ø Unromantic and contrary to traditional female role – shows promiscuity.
Ø Women fear loss of partner, if they were to ask for condom to be used.
Ø Men won’t enjoy sex with a condom on and refer to “clean” and “unclean” woman – promiscuous non-traditional woman.
Coercive and violent practices – violence and heterosex interwoven.
Ø Older men, in powerful social positions → young woman.
Ø Woman in love give in to male pressure for sex due to Love, commitment, fear of loss of relationship, economic pressure.
Ø Violence can ensue when a woman requests that a condom be used, as it can when HIV status is disclosed.
Ø Girls / young woman – appear to lack basic knowledge about their bodies, reproduction and sexuality.
Ø Where they do have knowledge – social pressure to remain ‘ignorant’ as they may then be construed as promiscuous
Ø Girls construed as sexually vulnerable to ‘dangerous’ male sexuality when they start their periods. (purberty)
Ø They are forced to go on the pill and taught of their expected passivity and vulnerability to men / boys. Therefore women associate their period as a negative development and a dangerous transition from girl to woman – negative sexual identity.
Ø Boys socialized positively into manhood. Puberty associated with heterosexuality and multiple partners. If they don’t get seen to perform – they are stigmatized.
Essentialism vs. Social constructionism.
Essentialism – identities are fixed and unchangeable. Specific social and physical facts, gender, class, race determine our identities.
Ø Essence refers to what is already existing but can be subjected to shaping of some kind of shaping . Reality waiting to be discovered.
Ø Essentialism assigns essence to people and/or experiences as a means of defining and explaining them.
Essentialism hinders real social change by constructing oppressive social relations as natural. i.e. Essentialist constructions of a natural female sexuality in a dominant patriarchal society – maternal, intuitive, vain, seductive, and irrational.
Ø Knowledge is constructed, deconstructed and reconstructed through ideological discourse.
Ø Our sense of who we are is not connected to an essence. Experience is subjective
Ø Female subordination stems from biological differences, therefore perceived to be natural and unchanging
Ø Biological essentialism – to prove the significance of biological differences between men and women for sex related behavior. Male sexual aggression – male hormones in overdrive.Gender differences are soci