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Autonomy VS Integration Debate in Gender Studies
Gender Studies is an interdisciplinary field of study that mainly discusses gender and gender based issues in society. Curriculum of the field shed lights on those topics that basically belong to other disciplines such as women’s studies, men’s studies and LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender). The interdisciplinary nature of Gender Studies gave rise to a debate on autonomy versus integrated nature of the field.
Origin Of The Autonomy Versus Integration Debate
The concept of autonomy versus integration debate in Gender Studies has its origin from Women’s Studies which initiated in 1980’s. In Women’s Studies feminists often take into consideration the nature of the field and debated whether it should be a kept an independent and autonomous department at universities or be incorporated and integrated in another major discipline as a subfield.
Autonomy And Integration Debate in Gender Studies
Autonomy versus integration debate in Women’s Studies gave a chance to feminists to initiate the same debate in Gender Studies. The proponents of autonomy and integration idea of Gender Studies have their own views which have been discussed in below paragraphs.
Autonomy Of Gender Studies
Autonomy means independency. Autonomy of Gender Studies means keeping the discipline an independent field of study in university and colleges. Proponents of autonomy present the following reasons for keeping Gender Studies an autonomous field of study.
Only Way Of Progress: According to the proponents of Gender Studies’ autonomy, also known as separatists, we can progress only if we keep the field autonomous and free of other disciplines’ influence. In case of integration we would not be able to work freely and highlight gender based issues prevailing in society.
Undermine Gender Studies And Its Goals: According to separatists integration will undermine Gender Studies work and some feminists’ goals. It will hinder both Gender Studies and feminists during their work in one way or another.
Integration Will Impose Constraints: Autonomy will also help Gender Studies and feminists to focus all their energy on the teaching of Gender Studies and explaining new concepts as in case of integration some constraints will be imposed on the field and work of the feminists.
Best Mean Of Generating New Knowledge: According to separatists autonomy of the field is the best mean of generating new knowledge through the interaction of like-minded people.
Integration Of Gender Studies
Integration means incorporation. Proponents of integration present the following reasons for the integration of Gender Studies as a subfield in any other major discipline.
Only Way To Bring Big Changes: According to the proponents of integration of Gender Studies, also known as integrationists, there is the need of bringing big changes in society related gender and gender based issues. According to them this change can only be brought by integrating Gender Studies in any other major discipline.
Best Way To Compel Policy Makers: Integrationists also argued that incorporation of Gender Studies in any other major discipline is the only way to compel policy makers to keep in mind gender while formulating a policy. According to them only this way we will be able to achieve our goals.
Though autonomy vs integration debate first originated in Women’s Studies and from there it entered in Gender Studies but the arguments of both separatists and integrationists makes it an integral concept of Gender Studies itself. Both separatists and integrationists have their strong arguments and it is important to take them into consideration before taking any steps.