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Harriet Martineau - Research Paper Example

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Name Professor Course Date Harriet Martineau Feminist theory is one of the principal contemporary sociological theories that attempt to investigate the status of women and men in the modern society with an underlying aim of applying the knowledge to improve women’s lives…
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Harriet Martineau
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Harriet Martineau

Download file to see previous pages... There were four basic variations of feminist theory. First, was the gender difference perspective that examined the manner in which, women’s social situation, location, and experience differed with that of their opposite gender. Second, was the gender inequality perspective that sought to indicate that women’s social situation, experience, and location are not diverse but equal to men’s. Third, was the gender oppression perspective that went further than both gender difference and gender inequality perspectives. The theoretical perspective claimed that women in the society were not only unequal or different from men, but were actively subordinated, abused, and oppressed. Fourth, was the structural perspective that posited that women’s inequality and oppression emanated from patriarchy, capitalism, and racism (Anderson 13). Harriet Martineau, who was born in 1802, became widely recognized as the mother of the classical, feminist theory. She was a prolific writer on subjects concerning politics, education, economics, women’s rights, abolition of slavery, travel, and fiction. During her time, women in Victoria, England were not permitted to express their views on some specific topics in public. However, Martineau constantly overstepped her ‘boundary’ and she spoke confidently on various matters. This afforded her vast recognition of both hatred and love. She tirelessly advocated for equal rights for both genders. According to Martineau, the principal concern of sociology is what she termed as ‘social life in society’. She described the term as causes, consequences, patterns, and general problems of the social world. Just like Spencer and Comte, Harriet Martineau was a positivist who acknowledged the vitality of progressive evolution and social laws in the society. Harriet Martineau posited that, the most fundamental social law of human life was human happiness. A great portion of her work sought to establish the degree to which human beings formulated ‘morals and manners’ for the sake of achieving happiness. She applied comparative, methodological approach, as a means of attaining an in-depth study of moral principals in various societies, and establishing extend to which the societies had progressed. Harriet formulated three measures to analyze progress that includes; situation of less dominant groups in the society, degree to which all individuals were provided with the means of achieving autonomous moral action, and the cultural attitude in regards to autonomy and authority. Unlike Spencer, she was exceptionally concerned with class, racial, and gender inequality. For instance, when she was studying the moral condition of America, she focused mainly on marriage patterns and slavery. While in Great Britain, she also examined the situation of wage earning in women (Martineau and Maria 8). In 1834, she began her two year study of the situation of women in the United States and reported her findings in 1837. The study of the American society became one of her widely recognized work because; she addressed issues by application of a methodological approach confronted with ethnocentrism. She successfully made a comparison between valued moral principles and observable social patterns. Additionally, she tactfully drew a distinction between reality and rhetoric. Through her work, she became the first Englishwoman to make an analogy between the American women and slaves. The book that she wrote ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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