This collection of essays analyzes relations of social inequality that appear to be logical extensions of a "natural order," and in the process demonstrates that a revitalized feminist anthropology of the 1990s has much to offer the field of feminist theory. Fashioned as a response to the lack of cultural analysis in feminist scholarship, the contributors question the category of gender within the inclusive context of the structural dynamics of inequality. They also examine how cultural identities, domains and institutions affect (...) our perception of gender in society. The first selection of essays addresses how ideas of family and kinship have fostered society's hierarchies and legitimized the status quo. In part two, the essays show how several dimensions of inequality are implicit in the construction of identities that are based upon ideas of social solidarity. Contributors: Susan McKinnon, University of Virginia; Kath Weston, Arizona State West; Rayna Rapp, New School for Social Research; Janet Dolgin, Hofstra University; Harriet Whitehead, Duke University; Carol Delaney, Stanford University; Brackette Williams, University of Arizona; Sylvia Yanagisako, Stanford University; Phyllis Chock, Catholic University; Sherry Ortner, University of Michigan; Anna Tsing, University of California, Santa Cruz. (shrink)
What is a woman? And what does it mean to be a feminist today? In her first full-scale engagement with feminist theory since her internationally renowned Sexual/Textual Politics (1985), Toril Moi challenges the dominant trends in contemporary feminist and cultural thought, arguing for a feminism of freedom inspired by Simone de Beauvoir's The Second Sex. Written in a clear and engaging style What is a Woman? brings together two brand new book-length theoretical interventions, Moi's work on Freud and Bourdieu, (...) and her studies of desire and knowledge in literature. In the controversial title-essay, Toril Moi radically rethinks current debates about sex, gender, and the body - challenging the commonly held belief that the sex/gender distinction is fundamental to all feminist theory. Moi rejects every attempt to define masculinity and femininity, including efforts to define femininity as that which 'cannot be defined. In the second new book-length essay, 'I am a Woman', Toril Moi reworks the relationship between the personal and the philosophical, pursuing ways to write theory that do not neglect the claims of the personal. Setting up an encounter between contemporary theory and Simone de Beauvoir, Moi radically rethinks the need, and difficulty, of finding one's own philosophical voice by placing it in new theoretical contexts. A sustained refusal to lay down theoretical or political requirements for femininity, and a powerful argument for a feminism of freedom, What is a Woman? is a deeply original contribution to feminist theory. (shrink)
The emancipation of women has become a strong critical discourse in Bengali literature since the 19th century. Only since the second half of the 20th century, however, have female writers markedly stepped out of the shadow of their male colleagues, and the writings on women become more and more often articulated by women themselves. In this article, I focus on particular concepts of femininity in selected texts of two outstanding writers of different generations, a prose writer, and a woman (...) poet: Mahasweta Debi (b. 1926) and Mallika Sengupta (1960–2011). Analyzing Mahasweta’s female characters, I focus on the issue of the double marginalization of dalit tribal women; we can find here impacts of intersectional discrimination of class, gender and caste. Debi is very radical in her social criticism but is quite reluctant to accept the label of feminism. Mallika, on the other hand, represents a movement among the female writers of her generation that openly declares her support for feminist ideologies, which can be demonstrated on some of the examples referred to here. Another important strand of Mallika’s constructions of femininity are archetypal images — mythological metaphors of femininity (in the Hindu context) which may in some cases be interpreted in accordance with difference feminism, in others as a critique of the essentialized and dichotomous concepts of masculinity and femininity. While Mahasweta’s emancipation drive is more deeply grounded in her field research and journalistic activism in the tribal areas she writes about, Mallika’s has been more strongly linked with the academia and has joined the theoretical feminist discourse. Through a close reading the women’s emancipation discourse of these two protagonists in Bengali literature, we can speak of a shift from a practical, concrete criticism, to a theoretically founded radicalism. (shrink)
This book offers a clear introductory overview of the concept of gender. It places gender in its historical contexts and traces its development from the Enlightenment to the present, before moving on to the evolution of the concept of gender from within the various stances of feminist criticism, and recent developments in queer theory and post-feminism. Close analysis of key literary texts, including Frankenstein , Paradise Lost and A Midsummer Night's Dream , shows how specific styles of literature (...) enable reflection on gender. (shrink)
Debates concerning the taxation of prostitution have occurred in taxation law and in feminist literature. This article will integrate the case of Polok v. C.E.C.  E.W.H.C, 156;  S.T.C. 361, within the feminist legal canon. The case is discussed in the context of the argument of the European doctrine of fiscal neutrality, which dictates that, regardless of legality as amongst member states, if an activity is levied to V.A.T. in one member state, V.A.T. should be levied on it (...) in all member states. The doctrine of sovereignty accepts the possibility that the integrity of the V.A.T. system may be compromised by the levying of tax on illegal activities, in terms of the cooperation between tax and other aspects of the U.K.’s legal system. European law, feminist law, commodification and the marketplace are all considered within the context of these principles. The article also considers the place of Polok within standard feminist texts on prostitution. Different paradigms of prostitution define different aspects of prostitution as ‘problems’, and the article considers the implications within a feminist reconstruction of Polok of this. The article suggests that the challenge for a feminist analysis of Polok is to remain within the realm of European tax and competition law, and to render the perspective of the employees of the Polok taxpayers part of the substance of the deliberations of the case. (shrink)
Arthur W. H. Adkins's writings have sparked debates among a wide range of scholars over the nature of ancient Greek ethics and its relevance to modern times. Demonstrating the breadth of his influence, the essays in this volume reveal how leading classicists, philosophers, legal theorists, and scholars of religion have incorporated Adkins's thought into their own diverse research. The timely subjects addressed by the contributors include the relation between literature and moral understanding, moral and nonmoral values, and the contemporary (...) meaning of ancient Greek ethics. The volume also includes an essay from the late Adkins himself illustrating his methodology in an analysis of the "Speech of Lysias" in Plato's Phaedrus . The Greeks and Us will interest all those concerned with how ancient moral values do or do not differ from our own. Contributors include Arthur W. H. Adkins, Stephanie Nelson, Martha C. Nussbaum, Paul Schollmeier, James Boyd White, Bernard Williams, and Lee Yearley. Commentaries by Wendy Doniger, Charles M. Gray, David Grene, Robert B. Louden, Richard Posner, and Candace Vogler. (shrink)
The essays collected in this volume attest to a renewal of philosophical interest in how bodies think and how thought is embodied, a philosophy that has been deeply influenced by literature, the arts, and psychoanalysis. The contributors here consider the body in thought at the dawning of a 'postmodern' world that demands new ethical reflection, and they all cross in some ways the lines of division traditionally drawn between art and philosophy, high and low, first and third cultures. (...) They do so using the body as common ground for their passage. The contributors provide a wide range of approaches to the bodily dimension of ideas in post-structuralist criticism from differing historical perspectives. (shrink)
This paper examines the complexity and fluidity of maternal identity through an examination of narratives about "real motherhood" found in children's literature. Focusing on the multiplicity of mothers in adoption, I question standard views of maternity in which gestational, genetic and social mothering all coincide in a single person. The shortcomings of traditional notions of motherhood are overcome by developing a fluid and inclusive conception of maternal reality as authored by a child's own perceptions.
Feminist literature sometimes posits that competition and cooperation are opposites. This dichotomy is important in that it is often invoked in order to explain why mainstream economics has focused on market activity to the exclusion of non-market activity, and why this fascination or focus is sexist. The purpose of this paper is to demonstrate that the competition/cooperation dichotomy is false. Once the dichotomy is dissolved, those activities which are seen as competitive (masculine) and those which are seen as cooperative (...) (feminine) are no longer mutually exclusive but are, in fact, dependent upon one another. It is shown that the outcome of competition (more and better knowledge) enhances, and in some cases makes possible, cooperation. The function of battle is destruction; of competition, construction. Ludwig von Mises. (shrink)
Up Against Foucault offers both a feminist critique of Foucauldian theories as well as an attempt to reconcile these seemingly irreconcilable perspectives. Feminists are often "up against Foucault" because he questions key conclusions in feminism regarding the nature of gender relations, and men's possession of power. This book, however, fills the gap in literature about Foucault by showing how his theories of sexuality and power relations are often applicable to the everyday realities of women's lives. Drawing upon their (...) diverse backgrounds in social theory and philosophy, the contributors discuss the ways in which Foucault provokes feminists into questioning their grasp of power relations, and examines the implications of his decision to overlook categories of gender in his discussion of sexuality and power relations. They also show that in spite of his lack of interest in gender, Foucault's ways of understanding the control of women and female sexuality ultimately have much to offer feminism. (shrink)
Feminist philosophy of religion as a subject of study has developed in recent years because of the identification and exposure of explicit sexism in much of the traditional philosophical thinking about religion. This struggle with a discipline shaped almost exclusively by men has led feminist philosophers to redress the problematic biases of gender, race, class and sexual orientation of the subject. Anderson and Clack bring together new and key writings on the core topics and approaches to this growing field. Each (...) essay exhibits a distinctive theoretical approach and appropriate insights from the fields of literature, theology, philosophy, gender and cultural studies. Beginning with a general introduction, part one explores important approaches to the feminist philosophy of religion, including psychoanalytic, poststructualist, postmetaphysical, and epistemological frameworks. In part two the authors survey significant topics including questions of divinity, embodiment, autonomy and spirituality, and religious practice. Supported by explanatory prefaces and an extensive bibliography which is organized thematically, Feminist Philosophy of Religion is an important resource for this new area of study. (shrink)
This is a bold and controversial feminist, philosophical critique of postmodernism. While providing a brief and accessible introduction to postmodernist feminist thought, Enlightened Women is also a unique defence of realism and enlightenment philosophy. The first half of the book covers an analysis of some of the most influential postmodernist theorists, such as Luce Irigaray and Judith Butler. In the second half Alison Assiter advocates a return to modernism in feminism. She argues, against the current orthodoxy, that there can (...) be a distinction between "sex" and "gender". For students trying to pick their way through the maze of literature in the area of postmodernist feminism, Enlightened Women is a concise guide to contemporary thought - as well as a radical contribution to the debate. (shrink)
In this post-9/11 era marked by religious and ethnic conflicts and the rise of cultural intolerance, ambiguities arising from the conflation of multiculturalism, sexism, and religious fundamentalism jeopardize the delivery of culturally safe nursing care to non-Western populations. This new social reality requires nurses to develop a heightened awareness of health issues pertaining to racism and ethnocentrism to provide culturally safe care to non-Western immigrants or refugees. Through the lens of post-colonial feminism, this paper explores the challenge of providing (...) culturally safe nursing care in the context of the post-9/11 in Canadian healthcare settings. A critical appraisal of the literature demonstrates that post-colonial feminism, despite some limitations, remains a valuable theoretical perspective to apply in cultural nursing research and develop culturally safe nursing practice. Post-colonial feminism offers the analytical lens to understand how health, social and cultural context, race and gender intersect to impact on non-Western populations' health. However, an uncritical application of post-colonial feminism may not serve racialized men's and women's interests because of its essentialist risk. Post-colonial feminism must expand its epistemological assumptions to integrate Taylor's concept of identity and recognition and Bakhtin's concepts of dialogism and unfinalizability to explore non-Western populations' health issues and the context of nursing practice. This would strengthen the theoretical adequacy of post-colonial feminist approaches in unveiling the process of racialization that arises from the conflation of multiculturalism, sexism, and religious fundamentalism in Western healthcare settings. (shrink)
The mainstream literature on corporate governance is based on the premise of conflicts of interest in a competitive game played by variously defined stakeholders and thus builds explicitly and/or implicitly on masculinist ethical theories. This article argues that insights from feminist ethics, and in particular ethics of care, can provide a different, yet relevant, lens through which to study corporate governance. Based on feminist ethical theories, the article conceptualises a governance model that is different from the current normative orthodoxy.
In this paper the sameness and difference between two distinguished Indian authors, Rokeya Sakhawat Hossain (1880–1932) and Mahasweta Devi (b. 1926), representing two generations almost a century apart, will be under analysis in order to trace the generational transformation in women’s writing in India, especially Bengal. Situated in the colonial and postcolonial frames of history, Hossain and Mahasweta Devi may be contextualized differently. At the same time their subjects are also differently categorized; the former is not particularly concerned with subalterns (...) whereas the latter specifically focuses on the effect of race and class on gender. The quest for the ‘self’ and ‘subjectivity’ is more pertinent in the latter and consequently the appeal for agency is based on a crude power struggle. Hossain, a philanthropist who championed the woman question, believed that striving for equality should be a collective process which could be achieved by spreading awareness among fellow-inmates inhabiting the prison of patriarchy. Like Euro-American first-wave feminists, Rokeya advocated the necessity of education among women in order for them to be able to comprehend their plight and ‘awake’ for the cause. She addresses fundamental issues of feminism like education and the systematized claustrophobia within the domestic space. Whereas Mahasweta Devi, has been an activist writer who is regarded as the brand ambassador for the support of the marginalized, deprived and denotified tribes of India. It is her mission to provide succour to the marginalized sections, especially tribes from the Purulia district of West Bengal, like the Kherias and Shabars. As an activist writer she explores tribal life and allied socio-political issues which reflect their agony. (shrink)
This article analyses how the new type of worker is constructed in respect to gender in current management literature. It contributes to the increasing body of work in organisational theory and business ethics which interrogates management texts by analysing textual representations of gender. A discourse analysis of six texts reveals three inter-connected yet distinct ways in which gender is talked about. First, the awareness discourse attempts to be inclusive of gender yet reiterates stereotypes in its portrayal of women. Second, (...) within the individualisation discourse, formerly discriminatory elements of gender lose their importance but a gender dimension reappears within the idea of ‹Brand You’. Third, in the new ideal discourse, women are constructed as ideal workers of the future. The article argues that there is little space within this web of discourses for an awareness of the continued inequalities experienced by women in relation to men to be voiced and that this rhetorical aporia contributes to a ‹post-feminist’ climate. (shrink)
Introduction: Middle-Earth, The lord of the rings, and international relations -- Order, justice, and Middle-Earth -- Thinking about international relations and Middle-Earth -- Middle-Earth and three great debates in international relations -- Middle-Earth, levels of analysis, and war -- Middle-Earth and feminist theory -- Middle-Earth and feminist analysis of conflict -- Middle-Earth as a source of inspiration and enrichment -- Conclusion: international relations and our many worlds.
Jane Duran's Worlds of Knowing begins to fill an enormous gap in the literature of feminist epistemology: a wide-ranging, cross-cultural primer on worldviews and epistemologies of various cultures and their appropriations by indigenous feminist movements in those cultures. It is the much needed epistemological counterpart to work on cross-cultural feminist social and political philosophy. This project is absolutely breath-taking in scope, yet a manageable read for anyone with some background in feminist theory, history, or anthropology. Duran draws many comparisons (...) and connections to Western philosophical and feminist ideas, yet avoids facile or imperialistic over-universalization. Her book is powerful, comprehensive, and brave. It will prove an enormously useful resource for scholars in women's studies, philosophy, anthropology, religious studies, and history. (shrink)