Belenky, Mary F., Blythe M. Clinchy, Nancy R. Goldberger, and Jill M.Tarule

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Belenky, Mary Field, Blythe McVicker Clinchy, Nancy Rule Goldberger, and Jill Mattuck Tarule. 1997. Women’s Ways of Knowing:The Development of Self, Voice, and Mind. New York: Basic Books.

Book Cover

Description: Drawn from the voices of women of varied backgrounds, Women's Ways of Knowing reveals the unique perspectives from which women view reality and draw conclusions about truth, knowledge, and authority. An intellectual and political Our Bodies, Ourselves, this book has had significant impact on debates about learning and gender and will continue to have resonance throughout the fields of education and psychology for years to come.

Review: Women's Ways of Knowing offers new and useful understandings of the epistemology (methods and basis) of the development of women's knowledge. While this already classic scholarly work is neither easily nor quickly read, there are many excellent reasons to read, use, and appreciate it. Earlier research in this field concentrated on predominately undergraduate middle- and upper-class Caucasian males. Based on interviews with 135 women of various ages from a variety of cultural and economic backgrounds, Women's Ways of Knowing creates five "not necessarily fixed, exhaustive, or universal categories" of how women know what we know. The results of this study are insightful and applicable to everyday life. The authors, instead of speaking from the distant land of "objectivity" and the omnipotent "one," say "we" and talk about their process: how and why they did this study, the details of their planning, what surprised them, how the results affected their thinking, plans, and progress. A good example of what's possible when love informs science, Women's Ways of Knowing illuminates - with warm and welcome light - scholarly theories about how people learn and know. - Jesse Larsen

 

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