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An ethic defines the general nature of the morals. rules and standards governing the conduct and choices of individuals as well as members of a profession (Oxford English Dictionary 1971). A feminist ethic for social science research specifically orders these general issues to recognize and account for wimmin's continued oppression within a patriarchal social system and academic disciplines. A feminist ethic identifies this continued oppression as a major contradiction of our research. work and social structure. Within social sciences generally, and sociology specifically. little attention is paid to the underlying patriarchal ethic which informs theory, method and substantive issues.
We preface this collection with a definition of the assumptions that underlie a feminist ethic for research and study. Our discussion amplifies four key issues: (1) the objectification of wimmin as research objects; (2) research by. for. and about wimmin; (3) language as used and abused in sociology; and (4) the gatekeeping process in employment, funding and research. In reality. these areas are inseparable. This book reflects the overlap among them. enhancing its continuity and comprehensiveness.