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Research The Groningen Research Institute for the Study of Culture (ICOG) Research Research centres Research Centre for the Study of Democratic Cultures and Politics Events & Colloquium

IMG Seminar – EDEN YOUNG: “Standpoint theory, deference, and ideology”

When:We 05-04-2023 15:00 - 17:00
Where:Room 1312.0025, Harmonie building

This event is organized by the Interdisciplinary Marxism theme group.

Eden’s paper will be pre-circulated, and the event will be hybrid, in-person and online. If you would like to receive the pre-circulated paper and/or the link to join online, please contact Kai Hopen ( k.e.hopen ).


Standpoint theory includes the claim that members of certain oppressed groups have an epistemic privilege with regard to knowledge of the system(s) of oppression that they face. The acceptance of standpoint theory often finds expression in a practical norm of deference, which is to defer to people who have experienced a certain form of oppression. This form of deference is part of a common critique of standpoint theory: it essentializes people with socially marginalized identities as having a form of critical consciousness by mere virtue of their social identity. Yet this neglects a central claim of standpoint theory—the achievement thesis—which states that critical consciousness can only be achieved through political struggle. In this paper, I argue that the norm of deference does in fact follow from the beginnings of feminist standpoint theory, which can explain why the achievement thesis is quickly forgotten by its detractors. Reading Nancy Hartsock’s pioneer article about the feminist standpoint alongside Georg Lukács’ standpoint theory, I argue that Lukács’ dialectical understanding of ideology better upholds the achievement thesis.

About the speaker

Eden Young is a second-year PhD student working in philosophy and American studies. Their project concerns the role of class in social epistemology, with a special focus on feminist epistemology and standpoint theory. They aim to have their activity as a union organizer and socialist inform their research and vice versa.