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Additional info for Feminist Methodologies for International Relations
For a critique of Fukuyama’s conservative conclusions, which were that men should be kept in power in western democracies in order to be able to stand up to security threats from other parts of the world, see Tickner 1999. As Joshua Goldstein (2001) claims, it is remarkable how many books have been written on war and how few of them have asked why wars are fought predominantly by men. 24 J. Ann Tickner (and men’s) lives (Peterson 1992a; Enloe 2000). But the basic question that has most concerned IR feminists is why, in just about all societies, women are disadvantaged, politically, socially, and economically, relative to men, and to what extent this is due to international politics and the global economy.
Chin is explicit in positioning herself in the context of her work. She tells us that she came to her study through her own background, which was that of an “upper class Malaysian Chinese extended family . . whose family members were served twenty-four hours a day by nannies, housemaids and cooks” (Chin 1998: xi). Having been motivated to do Feminism meets International Relations 35 this research after witnessing the abuse of a neighbor’s Filipina servant, Chin lived in various neighborhoods of Kuala Lumpur, where she could observe working conditions and where she heard many stories of mistreatment and abuse; she spoke with activists who counseled these workers and began to reflect on her own privileged status and the tensions between her class status and being an academic researcher.
Harding also examines and supports the validity of non-western scientific traditions, such as those originating in China, India, Africa, and the preColombian Americas, thereby offering support for post-Kuhnian and post-colonial claims that there is no one “true” scientific method. While Harding is not arguing for cognitive relativism (since she does not believe that all claims that science makes are equally accurate), she does argue that other cultures have used different methods and assumptions 8 9 “Third-wave feminism,” feminism which began in the early 1990s and which was reacting against treating “woman” as an essentialized universal category, has emphasized the different positionality of women according to class, race, culture, and geographical location.