Discussion / Event

Published: 30/09/2005

On 30 September 2005, WRI conducted a discussion on the book titled Feminist Methods in Social Research written by Shulamit Reinharz. With this book, we hope that researchers can find a feminist research model in the development of social sciences.


Shulamit Reinharz in her book mentions that feminist research is a research method which questions identity and diversity. This makes feminist research different from other research methods. What makes this book interesting is its choice to discuss “feminists who conduct research” instead of “feminist research methods” (page 6). We feel that this choice reflects one of the most important debates in research world in which the dichotomy of the subjectivity and objectivity of a researcher is highly debated. Shulamit Reinharz realizes that by “deliberately claim oneself” as a feminist, it will limit the works she studies. Therefore, she chooses different stepping stone which allows the exploration of the depth and breadth of the diversity of feminist thought and its problems instead.

“This book’s title is Feminist Methods in Social Research”, said the writer while highlighting the diversity of the book’s contents. This book presents the fact that feminists have utilized all available methods while at the same time they have also created new methods. “The practice of feminist research cannot be seen merely as orthodoxy, yet it has to be seen as a plurality.” (page 2)

Through this book, which is used as reference book by many gender studies and social studies programs in Indonesia and abroad, Reinharz invites us to discuss two important things. First is “the nature of knowledge” for those who claim themselves as feminists and not. The second is the “dilemma” that is often faced by researchers who view themselves as feminists on the topics of subjectivity, diversity, rapport, and science.

This book is not a technical guide for research, yet is a summary of researches that have been done by female and male feminists. Women Research Institute (WRI) believes that this book has given inspiration for researchers and workers of women’s organizations and has also served as an illustration to remind us that there are many ways to define knowledge and science.

In the conclusion, Shulamit Reinharz reiterates her view that “feminism is a perspective, not a method”. We agree with her view that feminism is a “cognitive/emotional attitude” instead of a practical guide to conduct research (pg. 337-338).


This book provides one door to the understanding of the production of feminist knowledge: criticisms and alternatives to the practice of knowledge production that often marginalize women. This book offers a long list of bibliography of feminist researchers’ works for us to explore further.

We hope that the translation of this book will lead to the production of more feminist research works in Indonesia by research and education institutes as well as institutes or non-institutes that are interested in women’s issues/ gender relation. In the future, we hope that we can continue the work of Shulamit Reinharz in collecting and disseminating the information on how Indonesian researchers conduct their works to respond to the women’s problems in the society.

WRI is established to continue the work of the study group and distribute the writings on women’s issues which are the concern of the founders of WRI. In its experience conducting works on developing program and activity related to the position of women in Indonesia, WRI often refers to this book as a comparison and reference on the many ways feminists work in obtaining and producing knowledge. WRI as a research institute focuses on the development of feminist methodology in social research since feminist methodology tries to explore the experience of women such as how women are viewed and view reality.



  • To share experiences in conducting research with feminist methods.
  • To form an understanding of what feminist research methods.
  • To be an initial step to create a group of researchers who utilize feminist methods.


Introduction to Discussion
Dr. Gadis Arivia, Peneliti Feminis
Dr. Aris Arif Mundayat, Antropologi UGM


Book Discussion in Yogyakarta
In addition to conducting book discussion in Jakarta, WRI also held a book discussion in collaboration with Atmajaya University Yogyakarta in Yogyakarta on 5 October 2005. This discussion was attended by students and academicians from Atmajaya University Yogyakarta.

The presenters were:

  • Judith Lim with her paper entitled “Notes on the Book of Feminist Methods in Social Research”. 
  • Nico Warouw with her paper entitled “Feminist Perspective in Social Research”.
  • Anne Marie Wattie with her paper entitled “Feminist Methods in Social Research-Shulamit Reinharz”.
  • Nasikun with his paper entitled “Several Notes on the Book of Feminist Methods in Social Research”.
  • Y. Argo Twikromo with his paper entitled “The delinquency of Feminist Researchers”.
  • Y. Sari Murti W., SH. M.Hum, with her paper entitled “Book Review of the Book of Feminist Methods in Social Research: Shulamit Reinharz, from A Legal Perspective”.
  • Lisabona Rahman from Women Research Institute.***