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date: 13 October 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Theory and research in psychology are products of numerous, often unnamed choices made by individuals embedded in systems of power and privilege. Acknowledging and dissecting these effects allow more conscious decision making about the research and theory-making process, ultimately improving work with clients, students, and communities. Building on feminist science studies and the feminist therapy technique of power analysis, the authors take a process-oriented approach, examining the roles of power and privilege in shaping knowledge production and “the literature.” In order to model metacognition and systematic questioning of the “unnamed specificity” pervading research, they first identify overarching principles of how societal factors shape the research process. Next, they articulate practical tools for analyzing the roles of power in any body of psychological research. As a case example, they then apply those tools to relevant research and theory, with particular emphasis on critiquing the feminist identity literature to which the first author has contributed.

Keywords: Identity, power, privilege, feminism, feminist identity, social identity, critical thinking, metacognition, research methods, identity development

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