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Summaries of Sociological Theories About Feminism, Racism, and Colonialism (Coursework Sample)


The paper required a summary of several readings, lectures, and discussions highlighting the major themes.


Sociological Theory Summaries
Student's Name
Seidman Part V Chapter 14-16
Chapter 14
This summary is based on feminist theory, whose emergence could be traced back to post-war America. Its subsequent growth was attributed to civil rights movements at the time and favorable administrations that fostered idealism. The theory emerged from the growing sense of self-awareness and the ever-dynamic society. Feminism was based on the perceived inequality among the sexes in a myriad of avenues such as work, sex, politics, and family, to mention a few. Moreover, according to the theory, men appeared more advantaged while women took the stick's short end. The feminism theory developed into three distinct approaches: feminism, gynocentric feminism, and postmodern feminism.
Gynocentric feminism was advanced by Dorothy Smith, a sociological theory under feminism theory that grew in popularity in the late 1960s. The theory was based on the idea that all women shared a similar biological, psychological, and social reality, coupled with the belief that society has placed them subordinate to men. Thus, the feminist movement wanted to channel the frustrations and feelings of disgruntlement to advance their equality cause. On the other hand, the difference feminism subsequently emerged after gynocentric feminism and a relatively radical form of feminism. The theory advanced the argument that men were the primary cause of women's oppression instead of gender roles. Difference feminism notably embraced the commonality among women and demonized men's characters. Lastly, a more recent approach of feminism called postmodern feminism was advanced by Judith Butler and emerged in the mid-1980s. The most salient difference between postmodern feminism and the earlier feminist approaches is that gender was not fixed either by society or psychological disposition.
Another perspective offered by feminism was the theory on masculinity and a man's making, particularly in a social context. The theory made several assertions: men were socially created and that males were pressurized and sometimes coerced into assuming a masculine identity after being born. Another understanding of male masculinity in the feminist perspective is that men are fundamentally driven to exercise power over women.
Chapter 15
Afrocentrism under the Critical Race Theory was based on the premise that the Blacks failed to secure equality with other races in America shortly after the war. In stark contrast to Afrocentrism, postmodernism was an ideology supported predominantly by White middle-class women. It was founded on debunking the contradiction surrounding their growing social, economic, and educational opportunities and their deeply-rooted political and cultural subordination.
The whiteness theory rose between 1980 and 1990, stemming from the growing need to recognize the novel American National Identity and the multicultural reality ingrained therein. On the other hand, the notion of White privilege was based on the perceived White dominance of status in positions they occupied.
Chapter 16
Unlike gender and race categories, sexuality in American society has largely been viewed as blurry and not well defined and clear-cut. In recent history, homosexuality and heterosexuality formed the basis of personal identity. Notably, homosexuality upon formal acknowledgment was described as sexually deviant behavior, and those practicing were viewed in a disgraceful manner. Based on the identity theory advanced by Adrienne Rich and Jeffrey Weeks, lesbians and gays faced persecution and discrimination and even being attacked. Just like how feminism grew, the gay movement grew due to developments in black liberation movements and countercultures. Queer theory was a building block for feminist theory and challenged the idea that gays and lesbians were part of the sexually constructed nature of identities and sexual natures and that gender is part of the essential self.
Lemert chapter 2
An essay written by Dubois gave a contended view of Reconstruction, which argued that it was a failure and consequently downplayed the contributions of Blacks. In turn, Dubois gave a direct refutation of the mentioned claims and asserted that Blacks had a significant contribution to reconstruction

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