Pub. date: 2009 | Online Pub. Date: January 26, 2008 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412964517 | Print ISBN: 9781412909167 | Online ISBN: 9781412964517| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Christopher J. Kelly
Consciousness-raising is the term used by second-wave feminists for their efforts to develop a heightened understanding of the difficulties facing them as women. Their primary method was to meet as a group— in the absence of men and with various ground rules (e.g., no interrupting). In these groups, they discussed jobs, parenthood, and other topics relevant to their lives. The goal was to produce new knowledge about women's lives as a basis for activism. This knowledge was to be based on their personal experiences. Consciousness-raising techniques became very specialized and methodical, and the knowledge generated has been very influential on feminist thought, research, and practice. Although one does not hear about consciousness-raising groups as much today, they had a profound influence upon radical feminist theorizing at the time, and many of the works produced by group participants (e.g., The Dialectic of Sex, by Shulamith Firestone) are still very well-known. At ...