6 Social research in the context of feminist psychology [pp. 89-103] Ann Phoenix



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Burman, E. (ed) (1990) Feminists and Psychological Practice. London: Sage.
6

Social research in the context of feminist psychology

[pp. 89-103]


Ann Phoenix

[a.a.phoenix@open.ac.uk]


Previous chapters have discussed the predominance of methods borrowed from the physical sciences in psychology, and the impli­cations of this for feminist psychology. This chapter explores the intersection between psychology, feminist practice and policy-relevant research. It is suggested that in practice psychology, like feminism, is not unitary but represents a variety of viewpoints, methods and areas of study. Broad definitions, like those presented in introductory texts and dictionaries of psychology (for example, Taylor et al., 1982; Reber, 1985), therefore need to be taken into account in such a way that a variety of methods flourish within psychology. It is argued that method should not be seen as the defining feature of psychology and that research conducted by feminists has much to contribute to the discipline of psychology. The chapter makes particular reference to a study of motherhood in 16 to 19-year-olds.
Feminist research
There is no unitary ‘feminist methodology’ to which all feminists have to subscribe (Griffin, 1989). Feminists are themselves diverse, and have varied perspectives on feminism. This diversity affects the research they choose to do, and the methods they use. Nonetheless it is possible to pick out broad themes that feminist researchers are likely to agree with. Wilkinson (1986, p.2) suggests that in feminist research ‘A female perspective is to be regarded as central to the research, not as an additional or comparative viewpoint’ and that feminist research entails a critical evaluation of the research process itself.

It follows from these themes that a feminist practice of psychology is likely to be different from a non-feminist one. It requires researchers, for example, to establish that research problems have not been constructed from androcentric viewpoints. Taking a female perspective seriously requires finding out what women’~ views are rather than inferring them from observation and experiment. As a result it may be necessary to interview women. [90]

The necessity of using methodological tools (such as interviewing) which are considered low status in psychology, and of creating tools if traditional ones prove unsuitable, is in itself likely to lead feminists to evaluate critically research processes and to focus on the power relations that affect the lives of the subjects of their research (Griffin, 1988; Stanley, 1988). Thus, while ‘feminism is a politics . . . directed at changing existing power relations between women and men in society’ (Weedon, 1987, p. 1) feminist research is rigorous rather than polemical.

Feminist perspectives are not, however, the only ones which encourage critical evaluations of the assumptions underpinning research and a focus on power differentials in society. The critical analyses produced by black women and black men (many of which incorporate analyses of social class) point out that black people are generally in relatively less powerful positions than white people, and are either ignored or assumed in academic research to be deviant or pathological (Lawrence, 1982; Parmar, 1982; Brah, 1987; Gilroy, 1987; Marable, 1983; Phoenix, 1987).

In recent years there has been some debate (some of which has been acrimonious) between black feminists and white feminists. Black feminists have argued that white feminists have omitted black women’s experiences and perspectives from their accounts and that it is unsatisfactory to treat the term ‘woman as if all women fitted into a unitary group (Davis, 1982; Issue 17 of Feminist Review, 1984; Bhavnani and Coulson, 1986). Feminism, they argue, is a theory and practice that aims to free all women and must therefore theorize differences between women as well as similarities among them. Furthermore, white feminists have been charged with sometimes contributing to the oppression of black women by either colluding with racism or being racist themselves (Carby, 1982; Parmar, 1982; Hull et al., 1982). Differences between black women and white women, and contradictions in their relationship, therefore, have to be addressed, and not rendered invisible in favour of stressing the commonalities that women share.

All women simultaneously have a class, ‘race’ and gender position. Class, gender and ‘race’ all have structural significance in a society which is differentiated by social class, patriarchy and racism. Analyses of the impact of each of these structural features is important to the understanding of individuals in social context. Such an understanding is now recognized as central if psychology as a discipline is to make progress in understanding individuals (Henriques et al., 1984; Richards and Light, 1986; Bruner and Haste, 1987).

It is, however, impossible for individuals to separate their experiences neatly into those which result from their social class position, those[91] which are consequent on their skin colour/’race’/ethnicity and those which result from their gender. Indeed the fragmentation which results from attempts to identify the individual effects of these factors masks the specificity of oppression individuals experience. People are multiply positioned (Henriques et al., 1984) but they rarely experience that multiplicity as fragmentary. It seems likely, then, that black feminist psychologists bring different perspectives to bear on their research than do white feminists.

Feminist contributions to the understanding of individuals and social relations are not being minimized in the discussion above. A feminist focus on taking women’s accounts seriously is crucial to psychological understandings. But feminist perspectives are not unitary, and are themselves permeated with other societal power relationships. Nor is an essentialist position, which suggests that because someone is a woman or black or working class, they will necessarily have different views from people who do not fit those social categories, being adopted. Nonetheless, the complexity of individuals’ social positions necessarily affects their experiences, and thus needs to be theorized and taken into account.


Defining and researching social problems

This section looks at how definition of social problems is dependent on the social positioning of the definers; and at the ways in which research in social policy is perceived within ‘mainstream’ psychology.

Many critiques of social science methodology have challenged the assumption that research on people living their everyday lives can ever be value-free and objective (Henriques et al., 1984; Seidman and Rappaport, 1986). Researchers are not objective observers of social contexts and interactions, but are members of society who have specific social locations and who bring particular orientations to bear on their research.

The issues researchers choose to study and the frames of reference they use to structure their enquiries are often products of their individual interests and dominant social constructions of important issues. Funding, for example, is more likely to be given to projects on topics considered socially relevant than otherwise. The definition of social relevance obviously does not rest on researchers’ personal definitions alone, but on those of the funding agencies, which in turn are informed by sociopolitical concerns. Hence definitions of social problems are dynamic rather than static (Seidman and Rappaport, 1986). The issue of who defines social problems and how they are constituted is not generally addressed. [92]

Socially relevant research frequently focuses on ‘social problems’. Hence there is a large body of policy-relevant research in the social sciences which addresses itself to ‘social problems’, aiming to provide a greater understanding of them and to ameliorate or eradicate them. The USA, unlike Britain, has a psychological society (the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues) geared to studying ‘social issues’.

Feminist writing (by black and by white feminists), and writing by black academics (women and men), have made a significant contri­bution to thinking about the social construction of social problems. For example, Henriques et al. (1984) clearly document how psycho­logical work on racial prejudice has focused on such prejudice as if it were simply a characteristic of pathological or misguided individuals. In explaining why psychology needs to take account of the structural nature of racism, Henriques et al. have redefined the nature of prejudice and made explicit the logical implications inherent in a focus on prejudice rather than on racism.

Similarly, Henley (1986) has pointed out how assertiveness training, originally designed to help women counter the disadvantages they face in employment, has, through its focus on changing individual women, come to be seen as necessary because of deficiencies in women themselves. Hence a measure designed to empower women has come to position them as social problems.

In the USA, where there are many more black psychologists than there are in Britain, black psychologists have begun to protest about the fact that black people have traditionally either been ignored in research (McAdoo, 1988) or have been treated as inferiors, passive victims or deviants. Research has thus served to sustain racist beliefs (Jenkins, 1982; Guthrie, 1976; Scott-Jones and Nelson-Le Gall, 1986).

It has so far been more common for black than for white psychologists to highlight the normalized absence/pathologized presence of black people in psychological research. Not surprisingly, members of devalued groups are more likely to question negative constructions of their group as a whole and to redefine formulations which treat blackness as automatically problematic. This illustrates the fact that those who define social problems tend to be socially distant from the problems they define and that their definitions tend to reflect only their own viewpoint (Seidman and Rappaport, 1986, p.2).

The way in which research on social problems is perceived within psychology may also be regarded as problematic. Research in social policy fields often operates at the boundaries of psychology and other social sciences. Indeed, it is often influenced by disciplines other than psychology. The research produced tends to be seen as ‘soft science’ since it is often conducted in ‘natural’ settings which it would usually [93] be considered unethical to manipulate experimentally, and over which researchers generally have little control. The data generated is, there­fore, likely to be more ‘messy’ than that produced from neat experi­mental designs. The traditional psychological method of experiment is, therefore, rarely applicable, and observation is often not possible. Furthermore, it is frequently necessary to find out how respondents construct their own situation and to ask them about their life histories. In practice, interviews often provide the main source of data.

In addition, policy-relevant research is frequently perceived to be applied, rather than pure or theoretical science. Hence it is considered atheoretical. Yet many psychologists (some of them feminist) are engaged in policy-relevant research. They use theoretical and methodological tools produced within as well as outside psychology in their research, and their published work feeds back into psychology. The distinction between basic and applied research arguably represents a false dichotomy.
The 16-19-year-old mothers study
The remainder of this chapter provides an extended example of a feminist-influenced, policy-relevant research project.
The starting point
Work on motherhood in the under-20s is published both in psycho­logical journals and in journals with no particular disciplinary base. Researchers from a variety of disciplines undertake work in the area. However, most research reported shares a common orientation to the ‘problem of teenage motherhood’. It is usually taken for granted that it is undesirable for women in their teenage years to give birth (Simms and Smith, 1986). Research reports as well as professional statements in Britain and the USA all generally take a negative orientation to this age group of mothers and their children. There has also been a depressing catalogue of findings which suggest that early motherhood is causative of a ‘gloomy adumbration’ of socioeconomic ills (Wells, 1983).

‘Teenage motherhood’ has, for example, been associated with anaemia and toxaemia for pregnant women, low birth weight, perinatal mortality, physical abuse, accidental injury and poor educational performance for children born to women under 20 (Butler et al., 1981; Alan Guttmacher Institute, 1981; Bury, 1984).

The context in which the study started in 1983 was, therefore, one in which teenage motherhood was generally devalued as a social problem. The study was initiated by a senior researcher at the Thomas Coram Research Unit and funded by the (then) Department of Health [94] and Social Security. As is generally the case with research units where individuals are only salaried if research funds are generated, the proposal had to be generated at high speed. As a result the rationale and aims of the project were couched in standard terms for research in this area. The study was originally called the ‘Unmarried Mothers’ project, and it was intended to focus on different age groups of women who gave birth without following the normative prescription of marrying first. However, before the study started it was decided to focus on mothers who were under 20 years of age, and the name was changed to the ‘Young Mothers’ project. It was also decided to follow a common research format and to compare a group of ‘indigenous’ mothers under 20, and an age-matched group of ‘West Indian’ mothers.
The research team and the black advisory group
The rest of the research team were appointed after the study had been funded. The team then comprised two project directors (one from social policy, the other a psychologist), a senior researcher (a sociologist) and two research officers to do the data collection (one a psychologist, the other an experienced interviewer with a journalistic background). The project directors were male, the rest of the research team were female. The research officer who was a psychologist was the only black member of the team.

Research in Britain is generally hierarchically organized. The model within which research agencies operate is that of senior academics applying for sufficient funds to enable them to employ junior assistants for the duration of data collection and sometimes analysis. Those who design studies often do not collect the data or (in the case of social policy research) see the circumstances in which respondents live. Assistants/interviewers are more often women than men who are more likely to be working for men than for women and by virtue of their status and relatively late appointment within research projects have limited opportunities for influencing the course of research projects. A replication of societal gender hierarchies is often, therefore, inherent in many research projects.

In a parallel manner, the handful of black researchers in Britain are more likely to be appointed to posts which explicitly require black researchers. This is potentially exploitative in that the concern of those directing such research projects is generally to give their projects academic validity by matching colour of interviewer to that of respondent. Such colour matching is designed to forestall criticisms that black respondents are unlikely to talk openly to white interviewers and to guarantee successful data collection.

Black and other minority ethnic group academics in the USA are [95] beginning to detail their dissatisfactions with the fact that, when they apply for tenure track jobs, they find that their ‘overspecialization’ in research on their own ethnic groups is seen as over-subjective and questionable (de la Luz Reyes and Halcon, 1988). Only white academics are believed to have the necessary objectivity to do research on black people. The recruitment of black researchers to collect data on black people is thus, at least in the USA, not likely to enhance black academics’ careers. Such employment is also potentially exploitative because, as junior members of research teams, most black researchers (like most women interviewers) have little opportunity to influence the published interpretations of the data that only they were considered able to collect.

A particularly unusual feature of the study was that it had a black advisory group composed entirely of black women, most of whom were feminists who were either involved in or interested in research. Their disciplinary backgrounds were in psychology, sociology and education. Their contribution to the project went beyond that usually expected from advisory groups because they met several times each year, read everything they were sent very carefully, and consistently evaluated the project. Their contribution proved both supportive and stimulating; their advice was not, however, always followed.
The eventual focus and methodology
As usual when research is being conducted the existing literature on teenage motherhood was discussed within the research team before the methodology was finalized. It soon became apparent that although the literature almost uniformly stressed the problematic nature of ‘adolescent motherhood’, the reported findings were not entirely worrying. The difficulties of those found to fare badly were over­extended to mothers under 20 as whole.

The desire to take women’s experiences seriously, which is a central tenet of feminist work, and to avoid reproducing by default the view of black people as pathological, led to critical thinking about the focus of the literature. As a result attention was given to the social construction of early motherhood itself. In common with research on other ‘social problems’ (Seidman and Rappaport, 1986), literature on motherhood in the under-20s stresses individual motivation and responsibility for the incidence of teenage motherhood (Phipps-Yonas, 1980; Arney and Bergen, 1984).

Even when researchers concluded that ‘sweeping condemnations of early motherhood are now unwarranted’ (King and Fullard, 1982), they nonetheless made assumptions that women who became mothers while they were in their teenage years were pathological. King and Fullard, for example, found that most of the mothers under 20 they [96] studied fared well. Yet they continually compared ‘teenage mothers’ with ‘normal mothers’. The use of the word ‘normal’ in this context is arguably unproblematic since it is a commonly used psychological term for describing what, in effect, is no more than a comparison or group. Yet the fact that mothers under 20 are contrasted with ‘normal mothers’ betrays King and Fullard’s easy acceptance of the widespread beliefs that ‘teenage mothers’ are abnormal.

It is usual for research in this area to compare black mothers in this age group with white ones. In these comparisons qualitatively different types of ‘explanations’ tend to be produced for the two groups of mothers. The incidence of motherhood in young black women is generally explained via sociocultural factors, while for white young women, psychological explanations are /favoured (Phipps-Yonas, 1980). The explanations put forward, that black women become pregnant for cultural reasons while white women do so because of their individual deficiencies, are inherently unsatisfactory since they assume rather than demonstrate the validity of those differences (Phoenix, 1987).

The main resulting shift in the focus of the project was from an attempt to establish whether ‘young mothers’ and their children fared badly, and whether young black women fared better or worse than white ones, to an attempt to understand the processes which lead some young women to become mothers as well as the processes by which some young women and their children come to fare well while others fare badly. As a result it was decided not to have a comparison group at all. The study was longitudinal. Women were interviewed in late pregnancy, 6 months after birth and 21 months after birth. Children were given developmental assessments at 21 months (see Phoenix, forthcoming, for a more detailed description of the study).

As in any research project there were difficulties and compromises. The sample, for example, proved difficult to find at home, and as a result attrition was higher than the research team would have liked (only fifty of a potential seventy-nine women were interviewed in-depth on three occasions). There were sometimes also internal disagreements. The use of standardized developmental assessments was, for example, disputed by the black advisory group and within the research team. One argument against them was that their in-built comparison to a constructed normal score was unsuitable for a project concerned with intra-group processes. Yet, because standardized tests produce data quickly and easily, it was eventually decided to use the Bayley Scales of Infant Development. Because the project did not have a standard design for research on mothers in this age group, it was necessary to explain and justify the project to colleagues and peers more frequently than would otherwise have been the case. [97]

The relationship between psychology and the project should not be seen as undirectional. The project itself contributes an understanding of the context in which motherhood, early in the life course, occurs and the effects it has on young women and their children. In addition, the project highlights the ways in which radical (feminist, anti-racist and social stratification) approaches to social policy research can produce psychological material. Women were not, for example, only studied in relation to their children (as is common in psychology). Hence they were not constructed ‘exclusively as mothers’ (Fraser, 1987) but as individuals with multiple positions and ‘careers. The tendency within psychology to define people in an individualized way denies the complexity of their experiences. Despite its claim to objectivity and value freeness, psychology is political in that, for example, it constructs and maintains ideologies which ‘blame the victim’ (Seidman and Rappaport, 1986).
Interviewing: a feminist research tool?
Interviewing is a useful feminist and psychological tool for the understanding of women’s own evaluations of their lives and experiences. Oakley (1981) pointed out how traditional ‘cookbooks’ on interviewing deny the two-way interpersonal relationships it is necessary to establish in the interview situation and are based on masculine paradigms of objective research. Brannen (1988) suggests that the relationship between the researcher and respondent varies with social class (and hence the power relations between them) as well as with the nature of the topic being studied.

The study described here was reliant on in-depth interviews of a socially stigmatized group of women who came predominantly from lower working-class backgrounds. The circumstances in which the women lived and their social class positions necessarily influenced the data collection. The context in which the interviews occurred was one in which it was difficult to find many women at home in order to interview them. Each post-natal interview took, on average, four visits, and many women received seven unfruitful visits before being dropped from the study. Respondents did not generally break appointments in protest at their inclusion in the study, although this may have been true in some instances. In one situation, for example, eighteen visits were made to secure one interview - yet the respondent was genuinely very pleased to see the interviewer and reported that she enjoyed the interview. Since most interviewees were not on the telephone, it was very difficult to make subsequent appointments if respondents were consistently out.

The likely explanation for the difficulty of finding respondents at [98] home seemed more likely to be that the research process was not important in respondents’ lives. Most respondents did not keep diaries and had no reason to consider the research interview more important than their daily activities, which, for many, included going out from their (frequently depressing) home environments for long periods each day.

Because interviewees often lived in cramped conditions with other members of their family, it was sometimes difficult to interview women in privacy. On one occasion, for example, a father marched into the room where his 17-year-old pregnant daughter was being interviewed and forbade the interviewer to ask any further questions about himself or his wife. The general poverty in which most respondents lived was tangible in interview visits. Some women were happy to be interviewed over lunchtime, claiming they never ate in the middle of the day. When interviewers were offered drinks, food cupboards were sometimes strikingly empty of anything other than one packet of tea. Milk was often in short supply and furniture and fittings were often sparse.

The interviews were not generally interactive or conversational. Women usually answered the questions they were asked without demanding information from the interviewer. This did not mean, however, that they did not enjoy the interviews or were monosyllabic in their responses. On the contrary most women reported themselves as enjoying the interview and interviews lasted between one-and-a-half and six-and-three-quarter hours (done in three visits).

The one-sided nature of the interviews was related to the social distance between researchers and the researched. Although the interviewers were, like the respondents, women, they were materially better off than the women being interviewed. The social power differentials between the dyad involved in the interview situation could not be left outside the interview situation or dispensed with. A conversational style of interviewing was, therefore, not appropriate since the participants in the interview were not of equal status. Respondents are more likely to make the interview a two-way process if they feel themselves to be of equal status with interviewers (Brannen, 1988).



Women did spontaneously ask their interviewers some questions. These were mainly to do with whether interviewers were married and/or had children themselves. At the end of the study respondents were asked how they felt about taking part in the project and it became clear that most interviewees enjoyed being interviewed.
Interviewer: How did you feel about taking part in the study?

Respondent: Interesting.

Int: What was interesting about it? [99]

Res: Well, it’s not every day you get to sit down and sort of tell people your problems . . . Makes you feel quite interested you know - I’m an interesting person.

Res: I usually sit and listen, so it makes a change to talk.

Res: I can say what I want. It gives me a chance to say what I want.
Although the research was explained to all women (verbally and in writing), some women were confused about what the study was about and why they had been chosen to take part. For example one woman asked after the last visit, ‘Well, Ann, how are you? Are you a qualified social worker yet?’ This misunderstanding is not surprising since most women were not familiar with research professionals and did not really know what to expect. This raises general questions of how psycho­logists may be seen as one of a whole army of welfare professionals.
Res: Urn, I found it very confusing . . . And I’m not really sure why the research is doing. It’s okay. I enjoyed it. It’s been quite, you know, it’s been good... I always wanted to know - I still would like to know why this research has been taken part.

Res: I don’t know why I’m being interviewed or you know - maybe I was told, but I can’t remember. [Laughs] Why did you pick on me?
A minority of women felt that they had been asked questions which were too personal, or that the interviews had lasted too long.
Res: Very nosey they are... about your housing and how much money you earn and things like that.

Int: Did you mind being asked those questions?

Res: Well, I didn’t really mind, but I think they are a bit personal.

Res: Um, I think the last interview was a bit tiring. It seemed to go on for ever and ever and ever. But urn, I thought oh God, when’s it gonna get to the end of it you know.

Int: What about this interview?

Res: No, this one’s all right. Weren’t as long as the middle one. It seemed to go on for ever.
(The last interview lasted three hours, and was longer than the middle one.) Asked about their preferences for interviewers, the great majority of respondents said that they preferred to be interviewed by women rather than men. Some also said that they preferred to have the same interviewer over the three visits.
Res: I don’t know. I find it hard to talk to men, I suppose. They don’t seem to see things the way women do.

Res: I mean I’m getting to know the person that’s been coming and I mean the first time I met you you know I was a bit strange. I didn’t know what to say. . . I mean it’s easier today than what it was on the first visit. [100]
Most respondents said that the colour of the interviewer made no difference to them. This may have been partly because with the decision not to compare black and white respondents, no attempt was made deliberately to match respondents and interviewers for colour. Respondents may have felt diffident about expressing colour pre­ferences to an interviewer of a different colour from themselves. But many interviewees who were, incidentally, colour matched expressed no colour’ preference. The following response from a black woman was, therefore, rare but demonstrates how respondents’ perceptions of and experiences of racism are part of the interview situation, whether explicitly acknowledged to make a difference or not.
If  had been doing the interview I would have had to tell her that the questions were too nosey because white people don’t understand what a typical black family is like. Therefore while white people might feel they shouldn’t ask too much about certain things because they’re strange, black people would understand.
In summary, the interviewing relationship in this study could not be claimed to be an equal one, although it was in many instances reciprocal. Many interviewees enjoyed having an uninterrupted opportunity to discuss their feelings and to be really listened to in confidence by another woman. Nonetheless, however pleasant interviews were, they were not simply friendly visits but represented attempts to obtain information for purposes beyond the interviewee’s (and sometimes the interviewer’s) control. Furthermore, gender was only one of the societal power relationships present in the interviewing relationship. ‘Race’, class and (although often denied by respondents) age were also important components and may partly have accounted for the respondents’ lack of commitment to keeping appointments with the interviewer. The impact of structural features other than gender on interview situations remain to be theorized in discussions of feminist methodology.

In recognition of the unequal relationship, and in order to give something tangible back to respondents who were visibly poor, interviewers left copies of the National Council for One Parent Families’ guide to the state benefits available for those women (single or married) who wished to have it. However a consideration of the power relations inherent in interview situations raises wider issues.

One of these is the suggestion that future research on women who are impoverished should include within their budgets a sum designed for paying respondents. Respondents should be given at least a token sum of money for contributing to research which is providing salaried positions for researchers who are dependent on their respondents’ accounts. It can be argued that this might simply be a ploy to increase [101] response rates in groups which are difficult to obtain and that accounts are likely to be falsified as a result. The potential for exploitation inherent in interview situations would, however, be reduced (although not removed) by such payment. It also seems that payment of respondents makes no discernible difference to the accounts they give (Rutter, personal communication).
Conclusions
The aim of this chapter has been to demonstrate that feminist and black perspectives can make a useful contribution to psychological research. In particular the insistence that women’s perspectives be taken seriously, and that implicit assumptions in research be made explicit, allows theoretical advances to be made and new methodological approaches to be tried.

The chapter has used the example of social policy research in the area of motherhood in teenage women to argue that it is important for such research to be informed by feminist and black perspectives and analyses of the impact of social class. The research described also, however, used psychological concepts, and contributed to the development of psychological theory. It is therefore argued that broad definitions of psychology should be used rather than limiting the definition of psychology to a narrow range of methods or topics. In addition it is suggested that interdisciplinary work can usefully assist the psychological understanding of the individual in context.

It may be argued that the perspectives described above are political, and hence not likely to produce objective research. Research which is apparently objective can, however, serve to maintain the devalued status of people constructed as social problems, and hence has an implicit political orientation.

The response of those trained in psychology who felt critical of many of its inherent assumptions used to be to define themselves as outside the discipline. With a growing number of psychologists informed by feminist and other radical perspectives, however, this is no longer the case. Psychology now has to accommodate psychologists with a wider variety of approaches than hitherto, and to change in accordance with them.

One positive feature of the project described here is that it produced new ways of thinking about motherhood in the under-20s in a mixed (female/male, black/white) research group. Feminist, black and class perspectives were incorporated by researchers who are white, middle class and some of whom are men. In this case this was partly due to the individuals involved and partly due to the influence of the black advisory group. Such co-operative ventures are essential in a climate [102] where some men now believe they know what a feminist perspective is and have made enough concessions to it, and when debates between black feminists and some white feminists appear deadlocked. One of the challenges that lies ahead for feminist psychology is in establishing successful alliances between black and white feminists, and between feminists and sympathetic men so that the development of feminist psychology continues.
Note
The black advisory group was a beneficial and supportive influence on the project. Thanks especially to Bebb Burchell, whose idea it was, and to Yaa Asare, Kum-Kum Bhavnani, Reena Bhavnani, Ronny Flynn, and Irma La Rose. Without Peter Moss, the project would not have taken place. Thanks to him and to the other members of the research team: Julia Brannen, Ted Melhuish, Liz Gould, Mary Baginsky, Ruth Foxman and Gill Bolland. The project was supported by a grant from the Department of Health and Social Security.
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