Vol 12 No 1 (2020)

The View from Here: Standpoint Feminisms and the Long Road from Objectivity to Inclusivity

Adrienne Munro
Athabasca University - MAIS
Published September 23, 2019


Standpoint epistemologies have been hugely influential in the social sciences, and instrumental in the development of feminist theory over the past four decades in particular. This paper briefly traces the trajectory of standpoint feminisms and closely allied theoretical paradigms such as intersectionality, and argues that in offering and responding to criticisms of exclusivity, these epistemologies have succeeded both in increasing awareness of and moving social sciences away from a frame of reference based on an assumed but invisible normative (white, able-bodied, heterosexual) male to more inclusive models that create space for those (the vast majority) who exist outside this frame. Much as the notion of (re)centring the margins has been used to advance postcolonial theory, standpoint has helped to decentre the former social scientific ideal of “objectivity” (the view from nowhere) and establish every vantage point—with an emphasis on those from what have traditionally been seen as the margins—as a viable and equally authoritative place from which to experience and interpret the world.