Sunday, March 28, 2010

The Social Reality in TIME and Vogue

We simply, defined epistemology as “how we know what we know”. Alcoff claims that epistemology is human and dependent on social reality and asks the reader to examine whether such female epistemology is political. However, I want to take a few steps back in order to question whether or not epistemologies are derived from a source or if they are the actual source. As we have been studying feminist epistemology in class, I wondered whether feminist epistemologies are formed because of social reality or if social reality is formed through epistemologies.

When I heard the words, “social reality”, magazines such as Vogue and TIME came to mind. As a woman, I find the content in Vogue magazine to be very inspiring. Vogue addresses aspects of fashion and living in everyday society. It is able to capture the social reality of the world today without only focusing on fashion. Vogue was first published in 1892 and grew to having subscriptions on an international level. Each country’s Vogue Magazine incorporates aspects of that country’s culture. It expresses the particular culture of each country and the country’s own epistemology. Also, Vogue represents feminist epistemologies from each separate country as it is a magazine geared more towards addressing women’s ideologies.

TIME is a different sort of ground breaking magazine that tends to capture important thoughts in the social world. Also on an international level, TIME Magazine, sometime known as the International Magazine of Events, captures the essence of the social reality and epistemologies of all sexes because unlike Vogue, TIME is not a magazine aiming at any specific audience. TIME was first published in 1923 to capture the reality of the world’s social events. Similar to Vogue’s style of publications, TIME has publishing headquarters in different countries around the world that publishes material relevant to the ideologies that pertain to that certain country’s epistemology.

In a way, the epistemology of the social scene of each country is seen through the publications of Vogue and TIME Magazine. After presenting the examples of TIME’s and Vogue Magazine’s portrayal of international epistemologies, I wonder about the same question that I asked in the beginning of this blog as to whether epistemologies are dependent on social reality or vice versa remains unclear to me.

Therefore I want to ask, does the epistemology presented in the publications of Vogue and TIME Magazine rely on social reality or is social reality derivative of the epistemologies found in these two publications?


  1. Manali,

    This is perhaps the most thought-provoking post I have read on this blog. I was originally going to write a comment in response, but it's getting too long not to be an independent post. I'll post it when I get a chance (probably tomorrow). I'm very interested in seeing what you'll have to say in response.

  2. Colin,

    I am glad that you were so interested in my post. I'm looking forward to reading and responding to your post!

    Thanks for the comment!

  3. Menali, I think this is a great question as well and you really get to the heart of the identifying what we mean by epistemology. Do we know things through our experience of reality or do we derive how we know things through the way they are presented to us? It seems there could be no clear answer, because from birth we are socialized in our world to be and act a certain way. We have derived alot of knowledge through those experiences.Vogue and Time Magazine capture these socializations, but they also keep them going by capturing the world "as it is." So, I feel social reality relies on both the experiences captured by the magazines and the way the world is socialized.

  4. This is a really interesting question Manali and I agree with Courtney that social reality and epistemology are cyclically related. So much of what we have learned from this course so far is the extent to which our social realities are contructed and how these constructions perpetuate. When you ask whether or not epistemologies are formed by reality or if social reality forms epistemology it becomes clear that the two are built upon one another.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.