"The Conceptual Practices of Power" - Dorothy Smith
1. When Smith suggests that sociology has been "based on and built up within the male social universe," what does she mean? How might the incorporation of women's standpoints change sociological thought and the sociological field, according to Smith?
When Smith is suggesting that sociology has been based on and built up with the male social universe, she is saying that Sociology as a whole as well as the knowledge, concepts and theories of Sociology has been dominated by males rather than women, "...profession of sociology has been predicated on a universe grounded in men's experience and relationships...largely appropriated by men as their 'territory,' (319)." Women's ideas and thoughts are known to be studied in the sociology profession but are not looked at with equality and prestige as that to men's. Women's words were not seen as the "knowledge of sociology." Women were categorized into doing household work and bearing and caring for children, "...washes his clothes, looks after him when he is sick...provides for the logistics of his bodily existence (321)." Continuing, the knowledge of sociology was made by men for men forcing women to not have a voice or a matter of opinion, thus, subordinating the women to a smaller, less important role. This made women look at the world from a perspective of only men, making women feel as if they are outsiders in their own world, as if they are foreign. The feeling of having to think and see the world from the perspective of a man, made women feel alienated from their own experiences. "The institutions that lock sociology into the structures occupied by men are the same institutions that lock women into the situations in which we have found ourselves oppressed (319)." Meaning that the organizations/institutions that make up sociology confine women into specified, submissive roles causing them to be oppressed because of the creation of society dominated by the male mind only. Women are left out and sociology has not yet incorporated and understood women's perspectives and experiences and allowed for women to share their knowledge of sociology.
According to Smith, when looking at Sociology, in order to gain a more accurate perception, one has to be able to see multiple perspectives, not only from male's point of views. In order to understand society and how society functions, different perspectives are needed. However, even today, the knowledge of Sociology is still largely dominated by the male perception, where women are still the backburners. The incorporation of women's standpoints could greatly expand the social facts, agencies and institutions in society offering different perspectives that males would have not seen and or missed. This allows women to come out of their silence brought upon by the male dominance and "...offer a knowledge of the social organization and determinations of the properties and events... (322)." If women's points of view are incorporated into society, this will allow women to feel less foreign and alienated in their own world, hence, it will create a world where women can enhance the structure of the sociological field.