Are Men 'Cleverer' Than Women? Deconstructing the Dogma of Female Intellectual Inferiority.
Journal of Social and Psychological Sciences 2008, Jan, 1, 1
Journal of Social and Psychological Sciences
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Traditional psychologists hold the ideological position that 'intelligence' is objectively measurable and consists of 'cognitive' traits (Cernovsky, 1991). They assume that language is a passive 'tool' through which 'intelligence' can be conceptualized (Alec & Rapley, 2003). Consequently, mainstream Psychology encourages language norms and restrictions that support the image of I.Q. research as value-free science. Such norms are also adopted by journalists who pretentiously attempt to report news in an unambiguous 'fashion' (Fowler, 1991). In contrast, discourse analysts regard psychological phenomena such as 'intelligence' as discursive actions as opposed to intrapsychic processes (Cernovsky, 1994). Thus, we can argue that 'I.Q.' is something that people do through the use of language rather than something they have (Kamin, 1995). Therefore, instead of being a passive 'window', language and scientific sounding words such as 'Intelligence Quotient' have a performative function in 'writing' particular versions of 'truth' (Antaki, 2006). Hence, I use Discourse Analysis (DA) as a method of investigating the pragmatics of language-use and its contribution towards perpetuating gender inequity. I also draw upon Feminist Psychology to put forward alternative discourses through which gender and intelligence could be reconstructed. Feminist research has become paradigmatic for much discourse analysis, especially since much of the research surrounding DA explicitly deals with social inequality (see Frith, 1998; Speer, 2001b). I also engage in a critical discussion of the moral and socio-political implications of legitimizing the assumption of 'women' as intellectually inferior. I argue that the categories 'intelligence' and 'gender' are not stable and natural but fluid, dynamic and constructed through discourse. These categories can only exist because there are shared values and assumptions about the way in which we negotiate its meaning and understanding. It is in this context that such categories are socially constructed. Finally, I discuss the methodological strengths and weaknesses of DA by looking critically at my work and making transparent its underpinning assumptions.
- Category: Social Science
- Published: 01 January 2008
- Publisher: Oxford Mosaic Publications Limited
- Print Length: 19 Pages
- Language: English