ABSTRACT

Feminist contributions can claim a good deal of the credit for modern social theory displaying increasing sensitivity to the dangers of overgeneralising. Fundamental here is the recognition that values, experiences, objectives and common-sense interpretations of dominant groups may be merely that; there is nothing especially natural or necessarily universal about them. All claims, whether made from within the academy or without, whether cautiously or boldly formulated, etc., are made from particular positions by interested parties. No person or group can reasonably profess a neutral, detached, unbiased perspective; all under-standings achieved are partial (as well as fallible and likely to be transient). The practice of universalising a priori, of merely asserting/ assuming the widespread validity/relevance of some position, is now widely recognised as, at best, a methodological mistake, and one that can carry significant political consequences.2