Yuval-Davis, N. 2012. “Dialogical Epistemology – An Intersectional Resistance to the Oppression Olympics.”

Yuval-Davis, Niva. 2012. “Dialogical Epistemology – An Intersectional Resistance to the Oppression Olympics.” Gender and Society 26 (1): 46-54.

Focuses on PHC’s impacts on “standpoint theory, situated knowledge and imagination, and transversal politics of solidarity” (46).
Quotes PHC’s BFT: Each group speaks from its own standpoint and shares its own partial,
situated knowledge. But because each group perceives its own truth as
partial, its knowledge is unfinished [my emphasis]. . . . Partiality and
not universality is the condition of being heard; individuals and groups
forwarding knowledge claims without owning their position are deemed
less credible than those who do. . . . Dialogue is critical to the success of
this epistemological approach. Nevertheless—resisting power inequities
must be addressed . . . [and] “decentering” the dominant group is essential.
(1990, 236-37)
In this, focuses on ontology of standpoint theory and intersectional theoretical and analytical framework that challenges “Oppression Olympics” (which Hancock 2011) coined.
Notes that feminist theory, in all forms, has challenged positivism’s notions of objectivity and truth – though “feminist empiricists” have not challenged positivism, but hope to do a better job in the existing one. Challenges “the god-trick of seeing everything from nowhere” (Haraway 1991, 189), which detracts from the legitimization of hegemonically masculinist paradigms of knowledge.
Situatedness of knowing has been used in standpoint theory in at least two ways:
1) Social siutatedness creates privileged access to the truth
2) Rejects previous position, forming truth is approximate and is part of dialogical relationship between differentially situated subjects
All forms reject knowledge as a simple reflection of its social basis. “Experiences, social practices, social values, and the ways in which perception and knowledge production are socially organized have been seen as mediating and facilitating the transition and transformation of situatedness into knowledge” (47).
Previous understandings of intersectional knowledge creation, etc. had segmented the study of women by women, blacks of blacks – in an order to create a more informed, experientially-based understanding of reviewed populations. This is openly rejected in contemporary intersectional sociology.
PHC rejects this hierarchization, mechanization of ranking of oppression, calls for dialogue of subjects to create an approximation of shared and individual truths; remarks that prioritizing marginal knowledge may work against the relevance of the dominant center’s knowledge (not great) – as it is important to understand hegemonic centers for the needs of emancipatory movement – yet, this is an area terribly difficult to gain access to. Differences in women were not situated in standpoints and epistemologies, but in the combinations of cultural differences, even if oppressive relations were not a direct part in framing communications
Introduction of Alison Assiter’s “epistemic communities” as a way to bring knowledge sets out of individuals, and create collectively impacted knowledges (1996, 2000). Collective access to knowledge comes through relationships in education, etc. On other hand, “transversal politics” put emphases on dialogical processes within “epistemic communities” to establish common narratives (Cockburn and Hunter 1999; Yuval-Davis 1994, 1997)
Imagining: how positionings become practices, practices become standpoints, knowledge, meaning, values, and goals take place (Stoezler and Yuval-Davis 2002). Imaginations become as situated as knowledges.
Such a notion would be closely related, first, to Castoriadis’s (1994)
notion of the imagination as “creative” of both the category “society” itself
and of the processes through which we perceive and know of it. Crucially,
the imagination in this context is not straightforwardly a faculty of the
individual but it is (also, or even primarily) a social faculty. Second, the
situated imagination also encompasses Adorno’s (1978) concept of fantasy
that preserves the wish and the (bodily) impulses in thought and knowledge (50)
Transversal politics – recognizes that each positioning is seen differently and knowledge based on just one positioning is “unfinished” (but not “invalid”) – Collins 1990, 236. Approaching the truth is based upon dialogues between different people of different positionings – the wider the better. Notions of difference should be encompassed (rather than replace) notions of equality. Notions of difference are not hierarchical, acknowledges differences in social, economic, and political power. Differentiates between positioning, identity, and values. (That is, people of similar positions or identities can have very different social and political values).
People are not representatives of their categories, rather advocates. Advocates do not necessarily have to be members of the group they advocate for; however, they should try to position selves into those with whom they are in dialogue. Compatible values can cut across identities and positions.

Assiter, Alison. 1996. Enlightened women: Modernist feminism in a postmodern
age. London: Routledge.
Assiter, Alison. 2000. Feminist epistemology and value. Feminist Theory 1 (3):
Cockburn, Cynthia, and Lynn Hunter, eds. 1999. Transversal politics (special issue).
Soundings 12.
Hancock, Ange-Marie. 2011. Solidarity politics for millennials. New York:
Palgrave MacMillan.
Stoetzler, M., and N. Yuval-Davis. 2002. Standpoint theory, situated knowledge and the situated imagination. Feminist Theory 3 (3): 315-34.
Yuval-Davis, Nira. 1994. Women, ethnicity and empowerment. Feminism &
Psychology 4 (1): 179-98.
Yuval-Davis, Nira. 1997. Gender and nation. London: Sage.


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