Feminist scholars have been remaking the landscape in political theory, and in this important book some of the most important feminist political theorists provide reconstructions of those concepts most central to the tradition of political philosophy. The goal is nothing less than the construction of a blueprint for a positive feminist theory.Many of these papers are completely new; others are extensions of important earlier work; two are reprints of classic papers. The result is a progress report on (...) the continuing feminist project to re-envision traditional political theory. As such, it constitutes essential reading not only for feminist thinkers but also for traditional philosophers and political theorists, who will need to come to terms with these contemporary critiques and re-readings. (shrink)
The political unconscious -- Modernity's traumas -- Targeting the public sphere -- The repetition compulsion or the endless war on terror -- Recovering community -- Deliberative democracy -- Feminist theory, politics, and freedom -- Public knowledge -- Three models of democratic deliberation -- The limits of deliberation, democratic myths, new frontiers -- Media and the public sphere -- Epilogue.
Feminist Political Theory provides both a wide-ranging history of western feminist thought and a lucid analysis of contemporary debates. It offers an accessible and thought-provoking account of complex theories, which it relates to 'real-life' issues such as sexual violence, political representation and the family. This timely new edition has been thoroughly updated to incorporate the most recent developments in feminism and feminist scholarship throughout, in particular taking into account the impact of black and postmodern feminist thought on (...) feminist political theory. (shrink)
Men in Political Theory builds on feminist re-readings of the traditional canon of male writers in political philosophy by turning the "gender lens" on to the representation of men in widely studied texts. It explains the distinction between "man" as an apparently de-gendered "individual" or "citizen" and "man" as an overtly gendered being in human society. The ten chapters on Plato, Aristotle, Jesus, Augustine, Machiavelli, Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, Marx and Engels show the operation of the "gender lens" in (...) different ways, depending on how each philosopher deploys concepts of men and masculinity to pose and solve classic problems. (shrink)
Feminism and the Body presents classic texts in feminist body studies. Intended for undergraduate and graduate students, the volume touches on the medical history of sexual differences, the political history of the body, the history of clothing and its cultural meanings, symbolic renderings of the body, male bodies, and the body in colonial and cross-cultural contexts.
In Political Theory and Feminist Social Criticism, Brooke Ackerly demonstrates the shortcomings of contemporary deliberative democratic theory, relativism and essentialism for guiding the practice of social criticism in the real, imperfect world. Drawing theoretical implications from the activism of Third World feminists who help bring to public audiences the voices of women silenced by coercion, Brooke Ackerly provides a practicable model of social criticism. She argues that feminist critics have managed to achieve in practice what other theorists do only (...) incompletely in theory. Complemented by Third World feminist social criticism, deliberative democratic theory becomes critical theory - actionable, coherent, and self-reflective. While a complement to democratic theory, Third World feminist social criticism also addresses the problem in feminist theory associated with attempts to deal with identity politics. Third World feminist social criticism thus takes feminist theory beyond the critical impasse of the tension between anti-relativist and anti-essentialist feminist theory. (shrink)
Once seen as synonymous with "anti-feminism" postfeminism is now understood as the theoretical meeting ground between feminism and anti-foundationalist movements such as postmodernism, post-structuralism and post-colonialsm. In this clear exposition of some of the major debates, theorists and practitioners, Ann Brooks shows how feminism is being redefined for the twenty first century. Individual chapters look at postfeminism in relation to feminist epistemology, Foucault, psychoanalytic theory and semiology, postmodernism and postcolonialism, cultural politics, popular culture, film and media, and (...) sexuality and identity. For all students looking for guidance through the sometimes murky waters of contemporary feminist theory, this book will provide a reassuring first port of call. (shrink)
One of America's foremost public intellectuals, Jean Bethke Elshtain has been on the frontlines in the most hotly contested and deeply divisive issues of our time. Now in Real Politics , Elshtain gives further proof of her willingness to speak her mind, courting disagreement and even censure from those who prefer their ideologies neat. At the center of Elshtain's work is a passionate concern with the relationship between political rhetoric and political action. For Elshtain, politics is a sphere (...) of concrete responsibility. Political speech should, therefore, approach the richness of actual lives and commitments rather than present impossible utopias. In her essays, Elshtain finds in the writings of Václav Havel, Hannah Arendt, and Albert Camus a language appropriate to the complexity of everyday life and politics, and she critiques philosophers and writers who distance us from a concrete, embodied world. She argues against those repressive strains within contemporary feminism which insist that families and even sexual differentiation are inherently oppressive. Along the way, she challenges an ideology of victimization that too often loses sight of individual victims in its pursuit of abstract goals. Elshtain reaffirms the quirky and by no means simple pleasures of small-town life as a microcosm of the human condition and considers the current crisis in American education and its consequences for democracy. Beyond exploring the details of political life over the past two decades, Real Politics advocates a via media politics that avoids unacceptable extremes and serves as a model for responsible political discourse. Throughout her diverse and insightful writings, Elshtain champions a civic philosophy that tends to the dignity of everyday life as a democratic imperative of the first order. "Jean Bethke Elshtain is a person of rare intellect. The moral wisdom that pervades these essays reminds us that when all is said and done politics is about the life and death of real people who are anything but abstractions. Her erudition is remarkable, but equally stunning is her eye for the significant. What she is so good at is helping us see the moral and political significance of the everyday."--Stanley Hauerwas, Duke University " Real Politics serves as a forceful reminder that Jean Elshtain has been dealing with the real world in twenty-five years of powerful essaying. Transcending ideological categories, she writes out of hope that human beings can enjoy those capacities of reason and faith which make them human. It is a pleasure to be reintroduced to her sustained intelligence."--Alan Wolfe, Boston University. (shrink)
This book combines the insights of enlightenment thinking and feminist theory to explore the significance of love in modern philosophy. The author argues for the importance of emotion in general, and love in particular, to moral and political philosophy, pointing out that some of the central philosophers of the enlightment were committed to a moralized conception of love. However, she believes that feminism's insights arise not from its attribution of special and distinctive qualities to women, but from its (...) recognition of human vulernability. (shrink)
Gender and Rhetoric in the Politics of Plato explores the relation between Plato's Republic and Laws on the set of issues that the Laws itself marks out as fundamental to the comparison: the unity of the virtues, the role of women, and the place of the family. Plato aims to persuade men to abandon the view of the good life that Greek cities and their laws inculcate as the only life worth living for those who would be real men and (...) not effeminate weaklings. What we can learn about Plato is the importance for him of understanding the nature of persuasion in order to come to terms with gender justice and the apparent plurality of human goods. What we learn from Plato is that to tackle the issues that arise in our new political community of men and women we must comprehend the proper bases and limits of persuasion. (shrink)
"Are you visiting women? Do not forget your whip!" -- Thus Spoke Zarathustra ". . . the democratic movement is . . . a form assumed by man in decay" -- Beyond Good and Evil Nietzsche's views on women and politics have long been the most problematic aspects of his thought. Nietzsche, Feminism and Political Theory is the first book to focus on the interest Nietzsche's work now arouses among feminist theorists and political philosophers. It is (...) unique in its examination of the ways in which Nietzsche has become an essential point of reference for postmodern ethical and political thought. In twelve outstanding essays, the contributors pursue questions about Nietzsche's views on the body, power, knowledge, self and sexual difference. The collection illuminates aspects of Nietzsche's epistemology or critical method which have direct bearing on contemporary methodological debates, and makes direct comparisons between Nietzsche and classical political theorists such as Hobbes, Rousseau and Marx. The final essays discuss the effects of Nietzsche's philosophy as mediated by recent post-structuralist readings of his work. This innovative collection shows some of the overlapping and divergent ways in which Nietzsche has become an essential reference point in contemporary ethical and political theory. Contributors: Keith Ansell-Pearson, Howard Caygill, Daniel W. Conway, Rosalyn Diprose, Penelope Deutscher, Elizabeth Grosz, Frances Oppel, Paul Patton, Paul Redding, Ted Sadler, Marion Tapper, Cathryn Vasseleu. (shrink)
The last five years have witnessed the birth of a vibrant new group of young scholars who are writing about queer law, politics, and policy--topics which are no longer treated as of interest only to lesbians and gay men, but which now garner the attention of political theorists of all stripes. Playing With Fire --the first scholarly collection on queer politics by US political theorists--opens the intersection of lesbian and gay studies and political theory to a wide (...) audience. It covers a wide range of issues, including: the theory of queer identities; the contrasts among ethnic, racial, and sexual identities; the debate between liberals and communitarians; the right to privacy; and the meaning of equal citizenship. Contributors: Gordon Babst, Lisa Bower, Cynthia Burack, Judith Butler, Paisley Currah, Morris Kaplan, Gary Lehring, Shane Phelan, Anne Marie Smith, Angelia Wilson, and Stacey Young. (shrink)
Judith Butler's contribution to feminist political thought is usually approached in terms of her concept of performativity, according to which gender exists only insofar as it is ritualistically and repetitively performed, creating permanent possibilities for performing gender in new and transgressive ways. In this paper, I argue that Butler's politics of performativity is more fundamentally grounded in the concept of genealogy, which she adapts from Foucault and, ultimately, Nietzsche. Butler understands women to have a genealogy: to be located within (...) a history of overlapping practices and reinterpretations of femininity. This genealogical understanding of femininity allows Butler to propose a coalitional feminist politics, which requires no unity among women but only loosely overlapping connections. For Butler, feminist coalitions should aim to subvert, not consolidate, entrenched norms concerning femininity. Butler has been criticized, however, for failing to explain either how subversive agency is possible or why the subversion of gender norms is desirable. Reviewing these criticisms, I argue that Butler offers a convincing explanation of the possibility of subversive agency, but that the normative dimension of her political thought remains relatively underdeveloped. I explore how the normative aspect of Butler's thought could be strengthened by recasting her notion of genealogy along more thoroughly Nietzschean and materialist lines, in terms of an idea of active and multiple bodily forces. (shrink)
How can we critique political theory when all we have to use are its own conceptual tools? As Hannah Arendt observed, it can only be done through leaps, inversions, and the turning of concepts upside-down. But this twisting operation must be done in order to turn those who philosophize back to the hard work of real life change. In Turning Operations , renowned theorist Mary G. Dietz challenges specific contemporary modes of (...) theorizing politics-from feminist theory to Habermasian discourse--while appropriating some of political theory's own approaches and some of its most striking figures, including Aristotle, Nietzsche, Weber, Beauvoir, and Arendt in order to foment some leaps, inversions, reversals and turns on politics along the way. Dietz confronts a number of current debates, arguing that most are filled with artificial division and empty terms. She argues that we must abandon commonly supported dichotomies-masculine versus feminine, speech versus action, liberty versus community -to create abetter discourse, and a better world. Turning Operations is an essential new contribution to democratic and feminist political thought. (shrink)
: The history of modern feminist political theories is often framed in terms of the already existing theories of a number of radical nineteenth-century men philosophers such as James Mill, John Stuart Mill, Charles Fourier, Karl Marx, and Friedrich Engels. My argument takes issue with this way of framing feminist political theory by demonstrating that it rests on a derivation that remains squarely within the logic of malestream political theory. Each of these philosophers made use of a (...) particular discursive trope that linked the idea of women's emancipation with the idea of social progress. I argue that this trope reproduced the masculinist signification and symbolism inherent in their particular political philosophies. I argue for a more positive, less masculinist, account of the history of feminist political thought. (shrink)
How is feminism changing the way women and men think, feel, and act? Virginia Held explores how feminist theory is changing contemporary views of moral choice. She proposes a comprehensive philosophy of feminist ethics, arguing persuasively for reconceptualizations of the self of relations between the self and others and of images of birth and death, nurturing and violence. Held shows how social, political, and cultural institutions have traditionally been founded upon masculine ideals of morality. She then identifies a (...) distinct feminist morality that moves beyond culturally embedded notions about motherhood and female emotionality. Examining the effects of this alternative moral and ethical system on changing social values, Held discusses its far-reaching implications for altering standards of freedom, democracy, equality, and personal development. Ultimately, she concludes, the culture of feminism could provide a fresh perspective on--even solutions to--contemporary social problems. Feminist Morality makes a vital contribution to the ongoing debate in feminist theory on the importance of motherhood. For philosophers and other readers outside feminist theory, it offers a feminist moral and social critique in clear and accessible terms. (shrink)
: Marietta Kies and Lucia Ames Mead were two late nineteenth-century thinkers who anticipated the late twentieth-century feminist "ethic of care." Kies drew on Hegel's philosophy to develop a political theory of altruism. Ames Mead adopted Kant's theory of peace and established a pacifist theory based on international cooperation. Both Kies and Mead insisted that the prototypically "feminine" ideals they espoused are rational, not emotional, responses to modern political life, and are essential to good political practice. Kies (...) was a member of the early Hegelian movement and Christian Socialist movement. Ames Mead was a member of the Woman's Peace Party and the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, and an early proponent of the League of Nations. (shrink)
In the mid-1970s and early 1980s, several feminist theorists began developing alternatives to the traditional methods of scientific research. The result was a new theory, now recognized as Standpoint Theory, which caused heated debate and radically altered the way research is conducted. The Feminist Standpoint Theory Reader is the first anthology to collect the most important essays on the subject as well as more recent works that bring the topic up-to-date. Leading feminist scholar and one of the founders of Standpoint (...) Theory, Sandra Harding brings together the a prestigious list of scholars--Dorothy Smith, Donna Haraway, Patricia Hill Collins, Nancy Hartsock and Hilary Rose--to not only showcase the most influential essays on the topic but to also highlight subsequent developments of these approaches from a wide variety of disciplines and intellectual and political positions. The Reader will be essential reading for feminist scholars. (shrink)
This important text introduces students to both feminism and other social and political theories via an examination of the inter-relationship between different feminist positions and key contemporary debates. The book takes each debate in turn, outlines the main themes, discusses different feminist responses and evaluates the implications for real-life political and social issues. This user-friendly structure effectively redraws the map of contemporary feminist thought, offering a fresh and succinct summary of an extensive range of material and graphically (...) demonstrating the ongoing relevance and value of a feminist perspective. (shrink)
This paper examines recent feminist work on Spinoza and identifies the elements of Spinoza’s philosophy that have been seen as promising for feminist naturalism. I argue that the elements of Spinoza’s work that feminist theorists have found so promising are precisely those concepts he derives from Hobbes. I argue that the misunderstanding of Hobbes as architect of the egoist model of human nature has effaced his contribution to Spinoza’s more praised conception of the human individual. Despite misconceptions, I argue that (...) the model of human nature, the view on human emotions and the conception of individual power that Hobbes created and Spinoza developed is an uncommonly useful one for feminist political theory. Through reexamining Hobbes’ model of human nature and the emotions I will argue that Hobbes’ theory of the internal weighing of emotions provides an important mechanism for understanding how the individuals’ affects can be reformed. I will show how we can use this naturalistic model of the human individual to answer contemporary theoretical and practical questions of how to empower women and how to effectively identify, challenge and change social categories, norms and institutions which are disempowering. In particular, I will argue that feminist projects of empowerment need a way to measure empowerment and a way to understand how to understand the power of harmful norms and customs. Understanding the way certain norms and practices disempower women while forming their affects and self‐conceptions provides the first step to reform of these practices. Spinoza and Hobbes provide us with a further tool to reform, and that is their understanding of the role of emotions in human action and power, and the need to reform and reorganize the emotions of individuals in order to escape harmful patterns of behavior. (shrink)
In the context of feminist and postmodern thought, traditional conceptions of masculinity and what it means to be a “Real Man” have been critiqued. In Genevieve Lloyd's The Man of Reason, this critique takes the form of exposing the effect that the distinctive masculinity of the “man of reason” has had on the history of philosophy. One major feature of the masculine-feminine dichotomy will emerge as a key notion for understanding the rest of the paper: the dichotomy of reason-feeling, a (...) parallel and a foundational aspect to the dichotomy of masculinity and femininity. In exploring the history of symbolic conceptions of masculinity in ancient Greece, the Renaissance, and the present, one finds that the oppression of women is integrally linked to the traditional tie between masculinity and reason. There have been many efforts in recent feminist philosophy to rewrite or redefine “Woman” in such a way as to alleviate the oppression of women. I argue that the effectiveness of rewriting Woman for this purpose is problematic, primarily because any rewriting of this type must occur in the current historical context of hierarchical dualisms, like Man-Woman, masculine-feminine, male-female. These binary oppositions arguably find their roots in Pythagorean philosophy and can be traced through the Renaissance to our current historical context. It is these dualisms that have traditionally valued the masculine side of the Man-Woman dichotomy more than the feminine. Further, it will be argued that the hierarchical dualism of Man and Woman is so pervasive that if we rewrite or redefine the inferior, deprivileged side of that dualism, we cannot correct its devalued status. Instead, we redefine that which is undervalued but retain its devalued status. This particular aspect of attempts to critique hierarchical dualisms like reason and feeling has been reflected in the writings of many feminists, male and female. This paper will show that in cases where women attempt to redefine the dichotomy by revaluing the traditionally feminine (like feelings and emotions) over the traditionally masculine (like reason) their work is often mistakenly criticized for being purely political; conversely, when men attempt to redefine the same dichotomy in an attempt to allow men to “get back in touch with their feelings,” to be nurturers, their work is described in terms of providing a better epistemology. The current literature on masculinity explores alternatives to rewriting or redefining Woman that try to avoid the problem of status remaining with redefinition. This alternative is rewriting or redefining Man. Through redefining Man, one may be able to reconceptualize the privileged side of the hierarchical dualism in such a way that it is no longer privileged. Deprivileging, as well as redefining Man, is argued by theorists of masculinity to be possible because while the devalued status of the inferior side of a hierarchical dualism tends to keep the same status when redefined, it may be possible to redefine the privileged side of the dualism in such a way that it loses its privileged status. Unfortunately, many of these attempts to rewrite or redefine masculinity have detrimental faults of their own. Finally, this paper will discuss more promising possibilities for new definitions of Man, as well as a vision for better interaction between the work of women and men in general. (shrink)
Neural Geographies draws together recent feminist and deconstructive theories, early Freudian neurology and contemporary connectionist theories of cognition. In this original work, Elizabeth A. Wilson explores the convergence between Derrida, Freud and recent cognitive theory to pursue two important issues: the nature of cognition and neurology, and the politics of feminist and critical interventions into contemporary scientific psychology. This book seeks to reorient the usual presumptions of critical studies of the sciences by addressing the divisions between the static and the (...) changeable; the natural and the political; the neuro-cognitive and the cultural that have been traditional to both scientific and critical accounts of neurology and cognition. (shrink)
Through its social and political activism goals, postcolonial feminist theoretical approaches not only focus on individual issues that affect health but encompass the examination of the complex interplay between neocolonialism, neoliberalism, and globalization, in mediating the health of non-Western immigrants and refugees. Postcolonial feminism holds the promise to influence nursing research and practice in the 21st century where health remains a goal to achieve and a commitment for humanity. This is especially relevant for nurses, who act as global (...) citizens and as voices for the voiceless. The commitment of nursing to social justice must be further strengthened by relying on postcolonial theories to address issues of health inequities that arise from marginalization and racialization. In using postcolonial feminist theories, nurse researchers locate the inquiry process within a Gramscian philosophy of praxis that represents knowledge in action. (shrink)
: Activist and political art works, particularly feminist ones, are frequently either dismissed for their illegitimate combination of the aesthetic and the political, or embraced as chiefly political works. Flawed conceptions of politics and the imagination are responsible for that dismissal. An understanding of the imagination is developed that allows us to see how political work and political explorations may inform the artistic imagination.
: The slogan "the personal is political" captures the distinctive challenge to the public-private divide posed by contemporary feminists. As such, feminist activism is not necessarily congruent with civic engagement, which is predicated on the paradoxical need to both bridge and sustain the public-private divide. Lee argues that rather than subverting the divide, the politics of the personal offers an alternative understanding of civic engagement that aims to reinstate individuals' dignity and agency.
This paper examines some French feminist uses of Lacanian psychoanalysis. I focus on two Lacanian influenced accounts of psychological oppression, the first by Luce Irigaray and the second by Julia Kristeva, and I argue that these accounts fail to meet criteria for an adequate political psychology.