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In recent years, a variety of efforts have been made in political science to enable, encourage, or require scholars to be more open and explicit about the bases of their empirical claims and, in turn, make those claims more readily evaluable by others. While qualitative scholars have long taken an interest in making their research open, reflexive, and systematic, the recent push for overarching transparency norms and requirements has provoked serious concern within qualitative research communities and raised fundamental questions about the meaning, value, costs, and intellectual relevance of transparency for qualitative inquiry. In this Perspectives Reflection, we crystallize the central findings of a three-year deliberative process—the Qualitative Transparency Deliberations (QTD)—involving hundreds of political scientists in a broad discussion of these issues. Following an overview of the process and the key insights that emerged, we present summaries of the QTD Working Groups’ final reports. Drawing on a series of public, online conversations that unfolded at www.qualtd.net, the reports unpack transparency’s promise, practicalities, risks, and limitations in relation to different qualitative methodologies, forms of evidence, and research contexts. Taken as a whole, these reports—the full versions of which can be found in the Supplementary Materials—offer practical guidance to scholars designing and implementing qualitative research, and to editors, reviewers, and funders seeking to develop criteria of evaluation that are appropriate—as understood by relevant research communities—to the forms of inquiry being assessed. We dedicate this Reflection to the memory of our coauthor and QTD working group leader Kendra Koivu.1
Celeste Montoya’s Global to Grassroots: The European Union, Transnational Advocacy, and Combating Violence Against Women addresses a pressing problem—violence against women—by bringing a transnational perspective to EU politics. We have thus decided to seek comments on the book from an Eastern European feminist scholar (Oana Băluţă) and a U.S. feminist scholar (Mary Hawkesworth). —Jeffrey C. Isaac
How do we make sense of the contradictory claims embedded in these two views articulated by the same scholar over a 15-year interval? Is the mature feminist philosopher writing in the leading journal of feminist scholarship in 1994 repudiating the neophyte socialist feminist who published in Socialist Review? Are we glimpsing a familiar feminist trajectory from Marxism to socialist feminism to poststructuralism? Do these two claims represent a discursive shift in how one writes feminist theory or a change in philosophical views?
Split Decisions: How and Why to Take a Break from Feminism.
By Janet Halley. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2006. 418p.
Simone de Beauvoir's Political Thinking. Edited by Lori
Jo Marso and Patricia Moynagh. Champaign: University of Illinois Press,
2006. 136p. $50.00 cloth, $18.00 paper.
Dispelling the myth of the given, probing the tacit presuppositions of
dominant discourses, challenging the naturalization of oppressive
relations, investigating processes that produce invisibility,
demonstrating the deficiencies of reductive arguments, and engaging
difference and plurality have been hallmarks of feminist scholarship in
general and of feminist theory in particular. Through sustained engagement
with canonical texts, disciplinary discourses, and historical and
contemporary events, feminist theorists have enabled new ways of seeing
and thinking. Has feminist theory exhausted its potential, or worse,
become an impediment to emancipatory projects? These two works provide
markedly different responses to these questions.
Since its emergence in the 1970s, feminist scholarship has claimed to
be corrective and transformative. Through original research about the
experiences of the majority of the world's population, that is,
women, feminist scholars have sought to correct omissions and distortions
that permeate political science. Through the use of gender as an
analytical tool, they have illuminated social and political relations
neglected by mainstream accounts, advanced alternative explanations of
political phenomena, demonstrated the defects of competing hypotheses, and
debunked opposing views. Despite such impressive accomplishments, feminist
political science has not become a dominant paradigm within the
discipline. Few doctoral programs allow students to develop areas of
concentration in feminist approaches to political studies. Few routinely
include feminist scholarship in proseminars in American politics,
comparative politics, international relations, political theory, public
law, or public policy. None requires familiarity with leading feminist
scholarship as a criterion of professional competence.
Investigating reports of marginalization from Congresswomen of color, I examine legislative practices in the 103rd and 104th Congresses to illuminate dynamics that structure hierarchies on the basis of race and gender. I advance an account of racing–gendering as a political process that silences, stereotypes, enforces invisibility, excludes, and challenges the epistemic authority of Congresswomen of color. Racing–gendering constitutes a form of interested bias operating in Congress, which has important implications for understandings of the internal operations of political institutions, the policy priorities of Congresswomen of color, the substantive representation of historically underrepresented groups, and the practice of democracy in the United States.