This paper discusses the different explanatory approaches taken by feminists and (Kleinian) psychoanalysts to women's psychological illness. In particular, anorexia nervosa (a condition that has attracted much feminist attention) is used as an example. Examination of some Kleinian accounts of work with anorexic patients reveals the great disparity between the terms and focus of psychoanalytical explanation and those invoked in feminist discussions. Can the two perspectives be combined? It is argued that, despite its individualist methodology, psychoanalysis stands to gain (...) from a broader understanding (that feminists might supply) of the cultural "provocation" of psychic conflict. This reconciliation of perspectives would require feminists to go beyond the "common sense" psychology that they often presuppose and to acknowledge the mediating influence of unconscious symbolic significance in experience. In connection with this issue, some work by feminists that has sought to accommodate psychoanalytical ideas is criticized for its "literalism." The lesson to be learned from this discussion applies more widely than to the feminist case. (shrink)
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.
In this ground breaking new book, Kirsten Campbell takes up the debate, but instead of asking what feminist politics is or should be, she examines how feminism changes the ways we understand ourselves and others. Using Lacanian psychoanalysis as a starting point, Campbell examines contemporary feminism's turn to accounts of feminist "knowing" to create new conceptions of the political, before going on to develop a theory of that feminist knowing as political practice in itself.
What is object-relations theory and what does it have to do with literary studies? How can Freud's phallocentric theories be applied by feminist critics? In Psychoanalysis and Gender: An Introductory Reader Rosalind Minsky answers these questions and more, offering students a clear, straightforward overview without ever losing them in jargon. In the first section Minsky outlines the fundamentals of the theory, introducing the key thinkers and providing clear commentary. In the second section, the theory is demonstratedn by an anthology (...) of seminal essays which include Femininity by Sigmund Freud; Envy and Gratitude by Melanie Klein; an extract from Transitional Objects and Transitional Phenomena by Donald Winnicot; The Meaning of the Phallus by Jacques Lacan; an extract from Women's Time by Julia Kristeva; and an extract from Speculum of the Other Woman by Luce Irigaray. Psychoanalysis and Gender:An introductory Reader is designed especiallyfor students and written with unpretentious prose and carefully selected material. It is an invaluable guide to this major field. (shrink)
Shadow of the Other is a discussion of how the individual has two sorts of relationships with an "other"--other individuals. The first regards the other as a s work apart is her brilliant utilization of a systematic dialectical approach to her subject, always maintaining the delicate balance between opposing tensions: masculinity and femininity, subjectivity and objectivity, passivity and activity, love and aggression, fantasy and reality, modernism and postmodernism, the intrapsychic and the intersubjective. Benjamin s work apart is her brilliant utilization (...) of a systematic dialectical approach to her subject, always maintaining the delicate balance between opposing other as a mental repository fo unwanted characteristics cast from the self. Jessica benjamin shows the implications of this dual relationship for male/female hierarchy and offers a possibility for balancing the two. This book continues the author's well-known explorations of the themes of intersubjectivity and gender, taking up issues at the forefront of contemporary debates in feminist theory and psychoanalysis. (shrink)
Performance Anxieties looks at the on-going debates over the value of psychoanalysis for feminist theory and politics--specifically concerning the social and psychical meanings of racialization. Beginning with an historicized return to Freud and the meaning of Jewishness in Freud's day, Ann Pellegrini indicates how "race" and racialization are not incidental features of psychoanalysis or of modern subjectivity, but are among the generative conditions of both. Performance Anxieties stages a series of playful encounters between elite and popular performance texts--Freud (...) meets Sarah Bernhardt meets Sandra Bernhard; Joan Riviere's masquerading women are refigured in relation to the hard female bodies in the film Pumping Iron II: The Women ; and the Terminator and Alien films. In re-reading psychoanalysis alongside other performance texts, Pellegrini unsettles relations between popular and elite, performance and performative. (shrink)
What can psychoanalysis offer contemporary arguments in the fields of Feminism, Queer Theory and Post-Colonialism? Jan Campbell introduces and analyses the way that psychoanalysis has developed and made problematic models of subjectivity linked to issues of sexuality, ethnicity, gender, and history. Via discussions of such influential and diverse figures as Lacan, Irigaray, Kristeva, Dollimore, Bhabha, Toni Morrison, and Alice Walker, Campbell uses psychoanalysis as a mediatory tool in a range of debates across the human sciences, while (...) also arguing for a transformation of psychoanalytic theory itself. (shrink)
In this book Alison Stone develops a feminist approach to maternal subjectivity. Stone argues that in the West the self has often been understood in opposition to the maternal body, so that one must separate oneself from the mother and maternal care-givers on whom one depended in childhood to become a self or, in modernity, an autonomous subject. These assumptions make it difficult to be a mother and a subject, an autonomous creator of meaning. Insofar as mothers nonetheless strive to (...) regain their subjectivity when their motherhood seems to have compromised it, theirs cannot be the usual kind of subjectivity premised on separation from the maternal body. Mothers are subjects of a new kind, who generate meanings and acquire agency from their position of re-immersion in the realm of maternal body relations, of bodily intimacy and dependency. Thus Stone interprets maternal subjectivity as a specific form of subjectivity that is continuous with the maternal body. Stone analyzes this form of subjectivity in terms of how the mother typically reproduces with her child her history of bodily relations with her own mother, leading to a distinctive maternal and cyclical form of lived time. (shrink)
Subjection and Subjectivity offers an account of moral subjectivity and moral reflection designed to meet the needs of feminism, as well as other emancipatory movements. Diana Tietjens Meyers argues that impartial reason--the appraoch to moral reflection which has dominated 20th century Anglo-American philosophy and judicial reasoning--is inadequate for addressing real world injustices. Dealing with the problems of group-based social exclusion requires empathy with others. But empathy often becomes distorted by prejudicial attitudes which may be publicly condemned but continue to (...) be transmitted through cultural figurations. Meyers uses Julia Kristeva's work on xenophobia and aesthetic practices as a starting point for developing a feminist politics of dissident speech, one that aims to dislodge prejudice. With the goal of offering an empathy-friendly account of moral reflection and judgment, she shows how moral reflection embodies the value of mutual recognition--a value enunciated in the work of Nancy Chodorow and Jessica Benjamin. Meyers argues that it is a mistake to view the moral subject as independent, transparent and rational. Instead, she presents a picture of a heterogeneous and pluralistic subject, one that is defined by ties to other people, liable to misunderstand its own motives and aims, and in need of a repertory of strategies for purposes of moral reflection. (shrink)
Although much attention has been given to Jacques Lacan in his rereading of Freud and to French women analysts in their deconstruction of traditional psychoanalysis, little has been available in the US on contemporary male French analysts and their treatment of women. She Speaks/He Listens illustrates the range of thought among some well-known French male psychoanalysts today--from Lacanians to anti-Lacanians to eclectics--with regard to women and sexual difference. Through the interview format, with its possibilities for surprise and spontaneity, the (...) book makes available the thought of Alain Didier-Weill, Bela Grunberger, Patrick Guyomard, Serge Lebovici, Rene Major, Gerard Pommier and Francois Roustang, as well as the internationally famed analyst Otto Kernberg, who gives a fascinating account of the French influences on his work. Other themes addressed include the place of Freud and Lacan in current theory and the relation of feminism to contemporary French male psychoanalysts. (shrink)
This paper critically evaluates the ways we look to children to educate us and explores how we might depart from that dynamic, exploring how a range of conceptual frameworks from historical and cultural studies and psychoanalysis might contribute to understanding the problematic of childhood, its problems and its limitations. While ‘child as educator’ may appear to reverse the typical power relations between adults and children, it is argued that this motif in fact repeats many of the same problems as (...) any claims about what children, and especially what ‘child’, is like. Specifically, the paper first reviews analyses of what is at stake in the figure of ‘child’; second, feminist engagement with the notion of ‘intersectionality’ is discussed in terms of how it might inform debates about childhood. Finally, drawing on Lacanian psychoanalytic approaches, analysis focuses on the notion of misrecognition structured in the ‘as’ connecting ‘child’ and ‘educator’. (shrink)
Grosz gives a critical overview of Lacan's work from a feminist perspective. Discussing previous attempts to give a feminist reading of his work, she argues for women's autonomy based on an indifference to the Lacanian phallus.
Is there vaginal orgasm or not? This question and the answers it has evoked have caused considerable confusion. The debate involves instincts and erogenic zones as well as the potential of female sexuality. At stake is not only the determination of the decisive erogenic zone in female sexuality but also, the extent to which female sexuality is susceptible to repression, the relation between social repression and the repression of sexuality, the specific understanding by women of their own needs and bodies, (...) and particularly whether women must devolve a part of their body — the clitoris or the vagina — in order to be women. (shrink)
So what is feminism anyway? Why are all the experts so reluctant to give us a clear definition? Is it possible to make sense of the complex and often contradictory debates? In this concise and accessible introduction to feminist theory, Chris Beasley provides clear explanations of the many types of feminism. She outlines the development of liberal, radical and Marxist//socialist feminism, and reviews the more contemporary influences of psychoanalysis, postmodernism, theories of the body, queer theory, and (...) attends to the ongoing significance of race and ethnicity. Given the diversity of feminist ideas, Chris Beasley a number of ways of looking at feminist theory and offer an open-ended approach which allows for variety and change. What is Feminism? is a clear and up-to-date guide to Western feminist theory for students, their teachers, researchers and anyone else who wants to understand and engage in current feminist debates. `Over the last three decades feminist theories and methodologies have become an increasingly complex as well as somewhat fraught terrain where ideas and egos alternately clash productively and destructively. This is an up-to-date and intelligent introduction to a field which remains a vital component of contemporary sociopolitical issues and debates' - Sneja Gunew, Professor of English and Women’s Studies, University of British Columbia. (shrink)
Genealogies -- Psychoanalysis and archaeology -- Freud in the sacred grove -- Colonial rescriptings -- War, decolonization, psychoanalysis -- Colonial melancholy -- Haunting and the future -- The ethical ambiguities of transnational feminism -- Hamlet in the colonial archive.
This glossary is both an introduction to the key words of feminist critical theories and a guide to their origins. Acknowledging the variety of contemporary feminist theories, the glossary includes entries on black, post-colonial, Italian, and French feminisms, and draws on a wide range of fields including semiotics, psychoanalysis, structuralism, poststructuralism, and deconstruction.
The film Female Perversions (1996) has received mixed reviews in newspapers and popular magazines. Critics have made appreciative comments on the powerful feminist message of the film, while many reviews registered frustration at the overuse of vulgarised Freudian psychoanalytic discourses in the film. Apart from those film reviews, however, many viewers have been somehow touched by the film and especially by the last scene, in which Eve physically ‘touches’ a girl’s face—though they do not know exactly why they felt the (...) film was so good. The difficulty of discussing the film Female Perversions lies in its contradictory appeal to the audience. While the film calls on the audience—most likely to be either ‘art-film’ fans or ‘professional’ viewers—to participate in the discussion about contemporary sexual politics, it eventually encourages them to suspend such a cerebral way of appreciating the film and to engage emotionally and physically in it as ‘lay’ cinema fans enjoy a nice entertainment movie. This apparently ‘highbrow’ film illuminates the very gap between the sophisticated analytic mode of film-watching and a more sensual and corporeal cinematic experience, and in a very subtle manner it invites us to move from the former mode of filmic experience to the latter. This paper aims to describe in words the film, the audience, and the intertwining of the two as a sensual, material, and corporeal being. For this purpose, this paper focuses on the moments of ‘touch’ in the film, the effect of which plays a crucial role in the subtle shift of the filmic mode mentioned above. Drawing on Merleau-Ponty’s phenomenological reflection on touch, this paper textualises what happens when touch happens in the film, how touch serves to produce the power of the film, and how it works on us when we are watching it. (shrink)
Margaret Whitford's study provides the ideal introduction to Irigaray's thought, offering a sustained interpretation of her whole corpus, including previously untranslated French texts. Whitford suggests that Irigaray's work should be seen as "philosophy in the feminine," actively opposing the complicity of philosophy with other social practices which exclude or marginalize women.
A valuable intervention in Kristevan scholarship and a significant and exciting contribution in its own right to post-structuralist discussions of ethical and political agency and practice. Contributors: Judith Butler, Tina Chanter, Marilyn Edelstein, Jean Graybeal, Suzanne Guerlac, Alice Jardine, Lisa Lowe, Noelle McAfee, Norma Claire Moruzzi, Kelly Oliver, Tilottma Rajan, Jacqueline Rose, Allison Weir, Mary Bittner Wiseman, Ewa Ziarek.
While feminist aestheticians have long interrogated gendered, raced, and classed hierarchies in the arts, feminist philosophers still don’t talk much about popular music. Even though Angela Davis and bell hooks have seriously engaged popular music, they are often situated on the margins of philosophy. It is my contention that feminist aesthetics has a lot to offer to the study of popular music, and the case of popular music points feminist aesthetics to some of its own limitations and unasked questions. This (...) essay addresses the paucity of work in feminist philosophy and popular music by (1) applying insights from other areas of feminist aesthetics (the role of gender in the art/craft distinction, concepts of genius and creativity, notions of active spectatorship, etc.) to questions of popular music, and (2) thereby using feminist aesthetics – specifically, Julia Kristea’s notion of female genius and the genius spectator – to critique itself. (shrink)
: In my response to the comments of Vincent Colapietro, Charlene Seigfried, and Gail Weiss on Living Across and Through Skins (Sullivan 2001), I explain pragmatist feminism as an ecological ontology that understands bodies and environments as dynamically co-constitutive. I then discuss the relationship of pragmatist feminism to phenomenology, psychoanalysis, Nietzschean genealogy, and Darwinian evolutionary theory. Some of the specific concepts I examine include the anonymous body, the bodying organism, truth as transactional flourishing, and the preservation of (...) racial and ethnic categories. (shrink)
In this article I discuss the emergence of Female Sexual Dysfunction (FSD) within American psychiatry and beyond in the postwar period, setting out what I believe to be important and suggestive questions neglected in existing scholarship. Tracing the nomenclature within successive editions of the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM), I consider the reification of the term ‘FSD’, and the activism and scholarship that the rise of the category has occasioned. I suggest that analysis of FSD benefits from (...) scrutiny of a wider range of sources (especially since the popular and scientific cross-pollinate). I explore the multiplicity of FSD that emerges when one examines this wider range, but I also underscore a reinscribing of anxieties about psychogenic aetiologies. I then argue that what makes the FSD case additionally interesting, over and above other conditions with a contested status, is the historically complex relationship between psychiatry and feminism that is at work in contemporary debates. I suggest that existing literature on FSD has not yet posed some of the most important and salient questions at stake in writing about women’s sexual problems in this period, and can only do this when the relationship between ‘second-wave’ feminism, ‘post-feminism’, psychiatry and psychoanalysis becomes part of the terrain to be analysed, rather than the medium through which analysis is conducted. (shrink)
This essay engages in a debate with Nancy Fraser and Dorothy Leland concerning the contribution of Lacanian-inspired psychoanalytic feminism to feminist theory and practice. Teresa Brennan's analysis of the impasse in psychoanalysis and feminism and Judith Butler's proposal for a radically democratic feminism are employed in examining the issues at stake. I argue, with Brennan, that the impasse confronting psychoanalysis and feminism is the result of different conceptions of the relationship between the psychical and (...) the social. I suggest Lacanian-inspired feminist conceptions are useful and deserve our consideration. (shrink)
Recent years have seen the advent of two feminist judgment-writing projects, the Women’s Court of Canada, and the Feminist Judgments Project in England. This article analyses these projects in light of Carol Smart’s feminist critique of law and legal reform and her proposed feminist strategies in Feminism and the Power of Law (1989). At the same time, it reflects on Smart’s arguments 20 years after their first publication and considers the extent to which feminist judgment-writing projects may reinforce or (...) trouble her conclusions. It argues that both of these results are discernible—that while some of Smart’s contentions have proved to be unsustainable, others remain salient and have both inspired and hold important cautions for feminist judgment-writing projects. (shrink)
In Feminism and the Power of Law Carol Smart argued that feminists should use non-legal strategies rather than looking to law to bring about women’s liberation. This article seeks to demonstrate that, as far as marriage is concerned, she was right. Statistics and contemporary commentary show how marriage, once the ultimate and only acceptable status for women, has declined in social significance to such an extent that today it is a mere lifestyle choice. This is due to many factors, (...) including the ‘sexual revolution’ of the 1960s, improved education and job opportunities for women, and divorce law reform, but the catalyst for change was the feminist critique that called for the abandonment (rather than the reform) of the institution and made the unmarried state possible for women. I conclude that this loss of significance has been more beneficial to British women in terms of the possibility of ‘liberation’ than appeals for legal change and recognition, and that we should continue to be wary of looking to law to solve women’s problems. (shrink)
Feminist legal scholars have never cut the first woman appointed to the Supreme Court of Canada as much slack as the second. Yet the first, Justice Bertha Wilson, introduced the contextual method into the Court’s jurisprudence. Her approach to contextualism is consistent with one of three feminist legal methods that Katharine T. Bartlett identifies. More specifically, it is consistent with Bartlett’s feminist practical reasoning. However, Justice Wilson’s contextualism is not without its critics. The most challenging, Ruth Colker, contends it must (...) work in conjunction with a distinctive substantive principle. Justice Wilson took a different approach, aligning the contextual method with the constitutional principle of proportionality. Thus construed, this paper argues, contextualism represents a new approach to feminist judging. (shrink)
This article seeks to identify and address the normative void that resides at the heart of postmodernist-feminist theory, and to propose a philosophical framework – beyond postmodernism, but incorporating its central insights – for thinking through the normative questions with which feminists are inevitably confronted in their engagements with positive law. Two varieties of postmodernist-feminism are identified and critically analysed: the ‘corporeal feminism’ of Elizabeth Grosz and Judith Butler, which seeks to ground feminist critical practice in the irruptive (...) capacities of the material body considered as an arte fact of social construction; and the deconstructionist feminism of Drucilla Cornell, for whom ‘the feminine’ is an indeterminate but disruptive force beyond its construction in law and in other social sites. The first component of the argument elaborated here is that each of these approaches ultimately reduces to a form of aestheticism which is incapable of generating a worthwhile and workable feminist approach to the restructuring of politics and law. The second component of the argument involves a return to aesthetics, in particular to the philosophical aesthetics of Kant’s Critique of Judgement. Kant’s aesthetic philosophy, it will be suggested, yields a framework of concepts which, duly re-manipulated, could speak to the very concerns that have inspired postmodernist-feminism: how to attend to (bodily) particularity while avoiding the dangers associated with ‘essentialism’; and how to theorise the propensity of the unrepresentable power of the feminine to exceed both embodied human capacities and the confining rein of socially privileged rationalities. Crucially, however it also responds to a set of preoccupations – those of the feminist lawyer – that cannot be accommodated by postmodernism: how to translate embodied experience into (legal) norms; generalise from the particular; seek consensus; and codify an endless potentiality in the form of law. (shrink)
This article offers a feminist perspective on contract theories in law,economics and law-and-economics. It identifies masculine traits presentcontract theories in all three disciplines. It then describes andassesses some developments that appear to be ‘feminising’: Therecognition of the importance of social norms in contract theory andtheories of contract as relationship. The article's main claim is that amasculine model of decision-making persists even within the less overtlymasculine models of contract. The problem of sexually transmitted debtresulting from a surety contract is analysed in (...) detail as a specificexample supporting the article's general argument. The article concludesthat the way forward is to be found in a recognition of other ways ofmaking decisions. (shrink)
This paper takes a recently published text and, in examining it closely, argues that it exemplifies trends within feminist scholarship in law, which might be characterised asestablishing a form of orthodoxy. The paper explores some of the ways in which thiso rthodoxy is constructed and presented, and argues that it is characterised by a commitment both to `grand theory' and Hegelian dialectics. The adoption of this model of work seems to offer a chance to hold together the triangular figure of (...) women/theory/law reform. The paper will argue that, whilst this model is clearly a valid choice, and attractive to feminist scholars in the promise it seems to hold, the model is not to be presumed but rather should be examined and considered in terms of its potential for feminist scholarship. Both within its own terms, and as part of the construction of an orthodoxy, the paper will argue that it is in fact problematic and that feminist scholarship would be better served by seeking an alternative theoretical model. An alternative is suggested, using the work of Deleuze, but it is acknowledged that this will require the acceptance of a very different theoretical configuration from that suggested by the triangular model of women/theory/lawreform. (shrink)
In this paper I develop and support a feminist virtue epistemology and bring it into conversation with feminist contextual empiricism and feminist standpoint theory. The virtue theory I develop is centered on the virtue of epistemic trustworthiness, which foregrounds the social/political character of knowledge practices and products, and the differences between epistemic agencies that perpetuate, on the one hand, and displace, on the other hand, normative patterns of unjust epistemic discrimination. I argue that my view answers important questions regarding epistemic (...) agency which both contextual empiricism and standpoint theory leave open, but need to have answered. Feminist virtue epistemology thus emerges as providing an integrative framework for pluralism in feminist epistemology that illuminated connections among theories through engagement with the lived experiences, aspirations, and epistemic work of feminist epistemic agents. (shrink)
The object of this essay is to explore the central role played by the ‘ethic of care’ in debates within and beyond feminist legal theory. The author claims that the ethic of care has attracted feminist legal scholars in particular, as a means of resolving the theoretical, political and strategic difficulties to which the perceived ‘crisis of subjectivity’ in feminist theory has given rise. She argues that feminist legal scholars are peculiarly placed in relation to this crisis because of their (...) reliance on the social ‘woman’ whose interests are the predominant concern of feminist legal engagement. With the problematisation of subjectivity, the object of feminist legal attention disappears and it is in attempts to deflect the negative political consequences of this that the ethic of care has been invoked, the author argues, unsuccessfully. The essay concludes with suggestions as to how the feminist project in law might proceed in the wake of the crisis of subjectivity and the failure of the ethic of care to resolve it. (shrink)
This article explores the epistemological and strategic issues facing feminists embarking upon narrative explorations into women's experiences. It considers the implications for feminist epistemology of acknowledging women's participation in dominant ideologies about their social role. Focusing upon questions of women's agency, it asks how this `conforming knowledge' might complicate postmodernist feminist notions of resisting and reconstructing law's categorisation of `Woman'. It also represents an attempt to clarify, in advance of my own analysis of women's agency in abortion decision-making, why postmodern (...) feminists might talk to women – the `subjects' of law's constructive power. It seeks additionally to open a discussion among a wider audience of feminists about what we might do with the information uncovered through listening to women's own stories in an area pronounced upon authoritatively by a multitude of discourses. (shrink)
Drawing on 2 years of field research conducted between 2008 and 2010 in London’s Kurdish community, I discuss the practical and ethical challenges that confront researchers dealing with violence against women committed in the name of ‘honour’. In examining how feminist methodologies and principles inform my research, I address issues of researcher positioning and the importance of speaking with, rather than for, marginalised groups. I then explore the difficulties of operationalising this position when dealing with honour-based violence. Using the interview (...) data from the 2008–2010 study and a case study of the trial of Mehmet Goren (who was convicted in 2009 of murdering his daughter Tulay for supposedly dishonouring their family), I discuss the socio-cultural norms and values underlying honour codes, examining both the position of men and women in relation to the maintenance of family honour and the regulation of women’s sexuality and conduct. In particular, I explore the difficulties inherent in obtaining and understanding victims’ own personal narratives, especially in legal settings, while simultaneously showing how it is only through empowering women to speak for themselves that we will be able to bring about the deep societal changes needed to eradicate honour-based violence. (shrink)
The SlutWalk campaigns around the world have triggered a furious debate on whether they advance or limit feminist legal politics. This article examines the location of campaigns such as the SlutWalk marches in the context of feminist legal advocacy in postcolonial India, and discusses whether their emergence signifies the demise of feminism or its incarnation in a different guise. The author argues that the SlutWalks, much like the Pink Chaddi (panty) campaign in India, provide an important normative and discursive (...) challenge to a specific strand of feminism based on male domination and female subordination in the area of sexuality and also speaks to the emergence of consumer agency in the very heart of pleasure in the neo-liberal moment. It serves as a space clearing gesture, a form of feminism ‘lite’, rather than offering a transformative or revolutionary politics, and thus enables the possibility of feminist theoretical positions in a postcolonial context that have hitherto been marginalised or ignored in feminist legal advocacy in India to emerge. (shrink)
Rape conviction rates have fallen to all-time lows in recent years, prompting governments to explore a range of strategies to improve them. This paper argues that, while the current legal impunity for rape cannot be condoned, increasing conviction rates is not in itself a valid objective of law reform. The paper problematises the measure of rape law that conviction rates provide by developing an account of (some) feminist aims for rape law reform. Three feminist aims and associated measures are explained—all (...) of which look beyond conviction rates to qualitative and victim-centred outcomes of criminal justice processes. Applying these measures, I argue that strategies designed solely to increase conviction rates are more likely to work against, rather than in support of, feminist aims. The paper thus underscores the need for continued feminist engagement with rape law reform, broadly conceived, notwithstanding its acute limitations for feminist anti-violence politics. (shrink)
One of the main purposes of feminist jurisprudence is to create or find better ways of being and living for women through the analysis, critique, and use of law. Rich work has emerged, and continues to emerge, from feminist theorists exploring conceptions of the self, personhood, identity and subjectivity that could be used to form a basic unit in law and politics. In this article, it is argued that a strong sense of human subjectivity needs to be retained to enable (...) the human potentiality of women and men to flourish. This can be done in a way which is not essentialist, yet does not dissolve the subject out of existence, issues pertinent to feminist jurisprudence in recent years. (shrink)
How can we eradicate violence against women? How, at least, can we reduce its prevalence? One possibility offered by Catharine MacKinnon is to harness international human rights norms, especially prohibitions on torture, and apply them to sexual violence with greater rigour and commitment than has hitherto been the case. This article focuses particularly on the argument that all rapes constitute torture in which states are actively complicit. It questions whether a feminist strategy to reconceptualise rape as torture should be pursued, (...) suggesting that we retain the label ‘rape’ due to its gendered meaning and powerful associations. It is also claimed that we may lose sight of the commonality of rape in calling it torture, as well as obscuring the varied responses of women survivors. Finally, the article canvasses the idea that we recognise the different circumstances and contexts in which rape takes place, which may mean different criminal offences for different rapes; for example, preserving the label ‘torture’ for those rapes in which state officials are participants. (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)