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Feminist theory


Hermeneutics means the science or art of interpretation. In this sense Freudian psychoanalysis can be called hermeneutics. In fact Freud called it a Deutungskunst (art of interpretation). Heidegger called his philosophy ‘hermeneutical phenomenology’, because it was concerned with interpreting experience in a historical context rather than with the nature of the perception of phenomena as such, in Husserl’s sense. The term ‘hermeneutic’ was originally applied to the interpretation of religious texts but, in the course of the nineteenth century, it came to refer to the understanding of texts in general. Another German philosopher was to apply Heidegger’s hermeneutic approach to the understanding of literary texts: Hans Georg Gadamer.

Hermeneutics is derived from the Greek word "translate, interpret (hermeneus, "translator, interpreter")


Hermeneutics (/hɛrməˈnuːtɪks/ or /hɛrməˈnjuːtɪks/)[1] is the theory and methodology of text interpretation,[2][3] especially the interpretation of biblical texts, wisdom literature, and philosophical texts.

Hermeneutics was initially applied to the interpretation, or exegesis, of scripture. It emerged as a theory of human understanding through the work of Friedrich Schleiermacher, Wilhelm Dilthey, Martin Heidegger, Hans-Georg Gadamer, Paul Ricoeur, Northrop Frye ,Jacques Derrida. Modern hermeneutics includes both verbal and nonverbal communication as well as semiotics, presuppositions, and preunderstandings.

The terms "hermeneutics" and "exegesis" are sometimes used interchangeably. Hermeneutics is a wider discipline which includes written, verbal, and nonverbal communication. Exegesis focuses primarily upon texts. The early usage of "hermeneutics" places it within the boundaries of the sacred.[13] A divine message must be received with implicit uncertainty regarding its truth. This ambiguity is an irrationality; it is a sort of madness that is inflicted upon the receiver of the message. Only one who possesses a rational method of interpretation (i.e., a hermeneutic) could determine the truth or falsity of the message[14]

Feminist theory

What Is Feminist Theory?

Feminist theory, or feminism, is support of equality for women and men.

Although all feminists strive for gender equality, there are various ways to approach this theory, including liberal feminism, socialist feminism and radical feminism. Let's take a look at the basic feminist ideas and various approaches to achieving gender equality.

Basic Feminist Ideas

Both females and males who identify themselves as feminists disagree on many things. That being said, most feminists agree on five basic principles:

  • Working to increase equality: Feminist thought links ideas to action, insisting we should push for change toward gender equality and not just talk about it.
  • Expanding human choice: Feminists believe that both men and women should have the freedom to develop their human interests and talents, even if those interests and talents conflict with the status quo. For example, if a woman wants to be a mechanic, she should have the right and opportunity to do so.
  • Eliminating gender stratification: Feminists oppose laws and cultural norms that limit income, educational and job opportunities for women.
  • Ending sexual violence and promoting sexual freedom: Feminists feel that women should have control over their sexuality and reproduction.

Types of Feminism

There are three basic forms of feminism: liberal, social and radical feminism.

Liberal feminism is rooted in classic liberal thought and believes that individuals should be free to develop their own talents and pursue their own interests.

This approach sees gender inequalities as rooted in the attitudes of our social and cultural institutions. Liberal feminists do not see women's equality as requiring a reorganization of society, but they do seek to expand the rights and opportunities of women.

They focus mainly on protecting equal opportunities for women through legislation. Passage of the Equal Rights Amendment in 1972 was a big step forward for liberal feminist agenda, which in part states that, 'Equality of rights under the law shall not be abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.'

To date, 35 states have ratified the amendment; 38 are needed for it to become part of the U.S. Constitution. The 15 states that have not ratified the Equal Rights Amendment include those in the Deep South, Midwest and Southwest and include Florida, Missouri and Nevada.

Socialist feminism evolved from the ideas of Karl Marx, who blamed capitalism for promoting patriarchy by concentrating power in the hands of a small number of men.

Feminist theory is the extension of feminism into theoretical or philosophical discourse. It aims to understand the nature of gender inequality. It examines women's social roles, experience, interests, chores, and feminist politics in a variety of fields, such as anthropology and sociology,communication, psychoanalysis,[1] home economics, literature, education, and philosophy.[2]

Feminist theory focuses on analyzing gender inequality. Themes explored in feminism includediscrimination, objectification (especially sexual objectification), oppression, patriarchy,[3][4]stereotyping, art history[5] and contemporary art,[6][7] and aesthetics.[8][9



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