Contemporary feminist debates over the meanings of gender lead time and again to a certain sense of trouble, as if the indeterminacy of gender might eventually culminate in the failure of feminism. Perhaps trouble need not carry such a..
This essay is a critical review of Sandra Harding's The Science Question in Feminism. Her text constitutes a monumental effort to capture an overview of recent feminist critique of science and to develop a feminist dialectical and materialist conception of the history of masculinist science. In this analysis of Harding's work, the organizing categories as well as the main assumptions of the text are reconstructed for closer examination within the context of modern feminist critique of science and feminist theory (...) in general. Although a postive review of Harding's text is presented, questions are raised concerning the adequacy of socialist feminist assumptions for such a project, the limitations of Harding's theorization of gender, and the appropriateness of "postmodernism" as a final category of residence. (shrink)
"The location of the author’s investigations, the body itself rather than the sphere of subjective representations of self and of function in cultures, is wholly new.... I believe this work will be a landmark in future feminist thinking." —Alphonso Lingis "This is a text of rare erudition and intellectual force. It will not only introduce feminists to an enriching set of theoretical perspectives but sets a high critical standard for feminist dialogues on the status of the body." —Judith Butler Volatile (...) Bodies demonstrates that the sexually specific body is socially constructed: biology or nature is not opposed to or in conflict with culture. Human biology is inherently social and has no pure or natural "origin" outside of culture. Being the raw material of social and cultural organization, it is "incomplete" and thus subject to the endless rewriting and social inscription that constitute all sign systems. Examining the theories of Freud, Lacan, Merleau-Ponty, Foucault, Deleuze, Derrida, etc. on the subject of the body, Elizabeth Grosz concludes that the body they theorize is male. These thinkers are not providing an account of "human" corporeality but of male corporeality. Grosz then turns to corporeal experiences unique to women—menstruation, pregnancy, childbirth, lactation, menopause. Her examination of female experience lays the groundwork for developing theories of sexed corporeality rather than merely rectifying flawed models of male theorists. (shrink)
This collection of original essays explores the social and relational dimensions of individual autonomy. Rejecting the feminist charge that autonomy is inherently masculinist, the contributors draw on feminist critiques of autonomy to challenge and enrich contemporary philosophical debates about agency, identity, and moral responsibility. The essays analyze the complex ways in which oppression can impair an agent's capacity for autonomy, and investigate connections, neglected by standard accounts, between autonomy and other aspects of the agent, including self-conception, self-worth, memory, and the (...) imagination. (shrink)
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 applying insights from other areas of feminist aesthetics to questions of popular music, and thereby using feminist aesthetics – specifically, Julia Kristea’s notion of female genius and the genius spectator – to critique itself. (shrink)
This chapter presents an overview of feminism and aesthetics in the 2007 Blackwell Guide to Feminist Philosophy edited by Linda Martin Alcoff and Eva Feder Kittay. Sections cover the topics of distinguishing aesthetics and philosophy of art, bringing feminist theory into aesthetics, developing feminist challenges to aesthetics, the role of women artists in feminist aesthetics, feminist philosophers reflect on self-portraiture and women as objects of beauty, and future developments.
Third World and transnational feminisms have emerged in opposition to white second-wave feminists’ single-pronged analyses of gender oppression that elided Third World women’s multiple and complex oppressions in their various social locations. Consequently, these feminisms share two “Third World feminist” mandates: First, feminist analyses of Third World women’s oppression and resistance should be historically situated; and second, Third World women’s agency and voices should be respected. Despite these shared mandates, they have diverged in their proper domains of investigation, with transnational (...)feminism concentrating on the transnational level and Third World feminism focusing on local and national contexts. Further, their respective positions regarding nation-states and nationalism have been antithetical, as leading transnational feminists have categorically rejected nation-states and nationalism as detrimental to feminism. In recent decades, transnational feminism has become the dominant feminist position on Third World women, overshadowing Third World feminism, and the dismissal of nation-states and nationalism as irrelevant to feminism has become fashionable. Against this current trend, this article argues for the relevance of nation-states and nationalism for transnational feminism and the urgency of reclaiming Third World feminism. (shrink)
Introduction -- By way of nomadism -- Context and generations -- Sexual difference theory -- On the female feminist subject : from "she-self" to "she-other" -- Sexual difference as a nomadic political project -- Organs without bodies -- Images without imagination -- Mothers, monsters, and machines -- Discontinuous becomings : Deleuze and the becoming-woman of philosophy -- Envy and ingratitude: men in feminism -- Conclusion. Geometries of passion : a conversation.
Overall, this book is indispensable for anyone wanting to have a richer understanding of how the Qur’an is read and interpreted within a feminist context. It is a wonderful synthesis of the work that has been done in the field thus far and provides tools necessary to seek out new avenues in understanding the Qur’an while still retaining a feminist spirit. Yet, in the end, this book does not disturb Muslim world order. It remains an overwhelming possibility for Hidayatullah that (...) interpretations which hierarchally differentiate between men and women may not be wrong. There is a comforting sense of resignation, or at least an affirmation of the ambivalence that Muslim mothers have transmitted to their daughters for centuries. We, feminist Muslims, are left with the same ambiguity with which we started the book. However, we now have a much deeper understanding of the nature of that ambiguity, and that perhaps is worth embracing in itself. (shrink)
In this article, we argue that feminist legal scholars should engage directly and explicitly with the question of evil. Part I summarises key facts surrounding the prosecution and life-long imprisonment of Myra Hindley, one of a tiny number of women involved in multiple killings of children in recent British history. Part II reviews a range of commentaries on Hindley, noting in particular the repeated use of two narratives: the first of these insists that Hindley is an icon of female evil; (...) the second, less popular one, seeks to position her as a victim. In Part III, the article broadens out and we explain why we think feminist legal scholars should look at the question of evil. In large part, the emphasis is on anticipating the range of possible objections to this argument, and on trying to answer these objections by showing how a focus on evil might benefit feminist legal thinking – specifically in relation to the categories of perpetrator and victim and, more generally, in relation to laws motivated by a desire to secure women’s human rights. (shrink)
It surely would lighten the tasks of feminism tremendously if we could cut to the quick of women's lives by focusing on some essential "woman- ness." However, though all women are women, no woman is only a woman. Those of us who have ...
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)
The contemporary industrialized global food system has sustained an onslaught of criticism from diverse parties—academic and popular, scientists and social justice advocates, activists and intellectuals—criticism that has only intensified in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. Feminist voices have made substantial contributions to these critiques, calling attention to the cultural politics of food and health ; to the impact of the corporatization of agriculture on food quality, the environment, and the people of the Global South, especially women ; and (...) to the complicated relationship among cooking, eating, and gender, including how food.. (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)
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)
Over the last decade, legal recognition of same-sex relationships in Canada has accelerated. By and large, same-sex cohabitants are now recognised in the same manner as opposite-sex cohabitants, and same-sex marriage was legalised in 2005. Without diminishing the struggle that lesbians and gay men have endured to secure this somewhat revolutionary legal recognition, this article troubles its narrative of progress. In particular, we investigate the terms on which recent legal struggles have advanced, as well as the ways in which resistance (...) to the legal recognition has been expressed and dealt with. We argue that to the extent that feminist critiques of marriage, familial ideology, and the privatisation of economic responsibility are marginalised, conservative and heteronormative discourses on marriage and family are reinforced. Our case studies include two pivotal moments in the quest for legislative recognition of same-sex relationships: the Hearings of the Canadian House of Commons Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights on Bill C-23, The Modernization of Benefits and Obligations Act, in 2000 and the hearings on Same-Sex Marriage in 2003. We find that the debates operated within a narrow paradigm that bolstered many existing hierarchies and exacerbated conditions for those who are economically disadvantaged. (shrink)
In the past decade the central principles of western feminist theory have been dramatically challenged. many feminists have endorsed post-structuralism's rejection of essentialist theoretical categories, and have added a powerful gender dimension to contemporary critiques of modernity. Earlier 'women' have been radically undermined, and newer concerns with 'difference', 'identity', and 'power' have emerged. Destabilizing Theory explores these developments in a set of specially commissioned essays by feminist theorists. Does this change amount to a real shift within feminist theory, or will (...)feminism's links with an emancipatory modernism reinstate an older political agenda? Can we transcend the common counterposition of equality and difference, or is feminism condemned to argue within the terms of this binary opposition? (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)
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)
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 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)
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)
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)
Fact/value holism has become commonplace in philosophy of science, especially in feminist literature. However, that facts are bearers of empirical content, while values are not, remains a firmly-held distinction. I support a more thorough-going holism: both facts and values can function as empirical claims, related in a seamless, semantic web. I address a counterexample from Kourany where facts and values seem importantly discontinuous, namely, the simultaneous support by the Nazis of scientifically sound cancer research and morally unsound political policies. I (...) conclude that even by the criteria available at the time, Nazi cancer research was empirically weak, and the weaknesses in their research are continuous with their moral failures in just the ways predicted by the holism I support. (shrink)
This paper considers whether eudaimonism is necessarily an idealizing approach to ethics. I argue, contrary to what is implied by Christine Swanton, that it is not, and I suggest that a non-ideal eudaimonistic virtue ethics can be useful for feminist and critical race theorists. For eudaimonist theorists in the Aristotelian tradition, the claim that one should aim to live virtuously assumes that there will typically be good enough background conditions so that an exercise of the virtues, in conjunction with these (...) favorable external conditions, will suffice for someone to flourish both in the sense of living virtuously and in the sense of living well or living the good life. However, under some forms of oppression the background conditions will not be good enough, and thus an exercise of the virtues will often be insufficient to constitute a flourishing life. It may seem that eudaimonism, with its foregrounding of the concept of flourishing and its assumption of a tight connection between living virtuously and living well, may function as a form of ideology that elides the ways in which non-ideal and oppressive conditions can separate virtue from well-being and can make the state of flourishing (in its dual senses) unattainable. I point out that eudaimonism can be revised to incorporate the claim that virtue and flourishing may typically be unlinked, and I advocate retaining flourishing as an unattainable end, exercising the virtues even with a sense of their absurdity, and confronting the existential states of frustration and disappointment that may result. (shrink)
In this volume we situate the future directions of feminist phenomenology in the here and now. We contend that in this moment feminist phenomenology is well positioned to take a leading role, not simply in terms of consolidating existing feminist methodologies but also in engaging the difficult task of thinking through the actual in the fullness of its relational, agential, ontological, experiential, and fleshly being, thereby opening up future possibilities. We also think there is some urgency to this claim. For (...) many, faith in the rational human subject has been shattered by the events of twentieth and twenty-first centuries’ worldwide conflicts and increasing sectarianism. The concept of the subject as such is either obsolete or needs to be dynamically rethought. The current options appear to include resuscitating the rational liberal subject or agent, acknowledging limited agency in the performativity of language and gesture, or recognizing the agency of matter. We want to argue instead for a feminist phenomenological approach that begins with multiple, meaningful points of view on relational being. (shrink)
‘Feminist masculinity’ might seem like a contradiction in terms. One might have assumed that we can embrace feminism or embrace masculinity, but not both. If traditional masculinity is contrary to feminist values, a pressing query for feminist men is whether repudiation of traditional masculinity should move one to reject normative masculinity entirely, or to reframe and reclaim it instead. bell hooks and Michael Kimmel each counsel against discarding manhood and masculinity. hooks envisions feminist masculinity as an alternative to patriarchal (...) dominance, with masculinity to be reconstituted in terms of love, integrity, and mutuality; Kimmel advocates moving from immature and traditional masculinities toward justice and democratic manhood, with a new model of masculinity that identifies real men with adulthood and doing the right thing. Neither proposal provides a viable stance for feminist men without collapsing into androgyny or risking erasure of some men’s and women’s identities and experiences. Building on Alcoff’s work on anti-racist whiteness, I suggest that feminist allyship practices ground a normative model of masculinity compatible with, and informed by, feminist values. We may understand allyship masculinities as open-ended feminist approaches to manhood: masculinities predicated on recognizing and responding to, rather than ignoring or accepting, the privileges and expectations distinctive of men under patriarchy. (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)
Space Gender Knowledge is an innovative and comprehensive introduction to the geographies of gender and the gendered nature of spatial relations. It examines the major issues raised by women's movements and academic feminism, and outlines the main shifts in feminist geographical work, from the geography of women to the impact of post-structuralism. In making their selection, the editors have drawn on a wide range of interdisciplinary material, ranging across spatial scales from the body to the globe. The book presents (...) influential arguments for the importance of the intersection between space and gender. Looking both at geography and beyond the discipline, it explores the gendered construction of space and the spatial construction of gender. Divided into a number of conceptual sections, each prefaced by an editorial introduction, this reader includes extracts from both landmark texts and less well-known works, making it an indispensable introduction to this dynamic field of study. (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)
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)
Against the backdrop of a longstanding feminist critique that Michel Foucault’s call to anonymity is insensitive to the erasure of marginalized persons, I aim to contribute to a critical account of anonymity as a feminist Foucauldian ideal. I do this in two ways. First, I analyze the tactical role of anonymity in the Prisons Information Group, an organization in which Foucault was involved. Second, I analyze the unique paradoxes of anonymity faced by gender non-conforming prisoners then and now. I conclude (...) that anonymity is ideally a situational and multi-layered tactic. By developing a modality of anonymity accountable to the differential politics involved in the chosen or forced renunciation of a name, I contribute to a critical evaluation of anonymity as a practice of resistance from within and beyond the prison system. (shrink)
This article assesses Jean Hampton’s feminist contractarianism by considering the way in which she draws together the contradictory positions of Hobbes and Kant to produce a test for exploitation in personal relationships. The ways in which this work fits with her other analysis of retribution, gratitude and self-worth are examined. Hampton’s work is evaluated in the context of Carole Pateman’s argument that moral theories distract from the political analysis of who has a voice in relationships. Hampton’s work presumes the social (...) and economic structures that Pateman has done so much to understand. It is useful as a claim for justice in personal relationships, to be considered as part of consciousness-raising or public debate. (shrink)
Proportionality is one of the most important adjudicatory tools, in human rights decision-making, primarily employed to balance rights and interests. Despite this there is very little feminist analysis of its use by the courts. This article discusses the doctrine of proportionality and considers its amenability to feminist legal methods. It relies on theories of deliberative democracy to argue that the proportionality test can be applied in a manner that facilitates a more “interactive universalism”, allows for greater participation in decision-making and (...) enables the courts to be more attentive to the disadvantaged. The commonalities between proportionality and feminist theory are examined, and its contribution to developing and reconstituting a more relational and contextual concept of rights is explored. (shrink)
This article considers, from a feminist perspective, the introduction of the European Equal Treatment Amendment Directive (E.T.A.D.) and its impact on the law of sexual harassment in the United Kingdom. Since feminists identified sexual harassment as a problem for women in the 1970s, feminist legal scholars have focused their attention on the law as a means of redressing it. Bringing claims in the U.K. has been difficult because of the absence of a definition of sexual harassment and reliance in the (...) Sex Discrimination Act 1975 on a comparator approach. These problems are illustrated by the recent House of Lords decision in Pearce v. Governing Body of Mayfield Secondary School(2003). The failure of the House of Lords in Pearce to understand sexual harassment as an issue of substantive equality for women makes the introduction of the European law all the more the pressing. The author discusses the implications of the changes embodied in the E.T.A.D. in the light of feminist theory. She argues that the changes envisaged constitute welcome developments which will make it easier to remedy workplace sexual harassment. However, it is also likely that problems will remain for women in establishing sexual harassment claims, particularly if concepts of reasonableness and unwelcome behaviour continue to form part of the legal definition. (shrink)
This article examines some of the conceptual history of collective political action within feminist movements beginning with sisterhood and moving to feminist political solidarity. I argue that feminist political solidarity is built on a commitment by individuals to form a unity in opposition to injustice or oppression. Three moral relations emerge from this understanding of feminist political solidarity: the relation to the cause, the relation among members of the solidary group, and the relation between the solidary group and the larger (...) society. These relations evoke certain obligations and responsibilities which I present and defend. Feminist political solidarity is informed by the particularities of the cause and thus any theoretical account of the moral obligations is necessarily limited, but by looking at these three relations together with a sociological account of transnational feminist political solidarity drawn from Clare Weber’s sociological description of the Women’s Empowerment Project, a clearer picture of some of the moral requirements of a commitment to feminist political solidarity emerges. -/- . (shrink)
North American scholarship has charted resonances between 1990s legislative and feminist discourse concerning violence against women. Feminist critique of official discourse surrounding the Protection from Harassment Act 1997 suggests that 1990s resonances did not reach the UK: however, an examination of the Hansard debates suggests this under-estimates the influence of feminist discourse. Halley’s discussion of “bad faith” helps to explain both the tendency of feminists to under-estimate their influence and why this matters. A commitment to an understanding of themselves as (...) powerless may encourage feminists to underplay similarities between feminist and official discourse, leading feminists to find only what they expect. Such an understanding gives feminism the capacity to change social life without acknowledging, let alone agonising over, the full range of its distributive effects. This is most troubling in relation to “carceral” feminism, since under-assessment of feminist impact encourages amplification and intensification of the carceral message. (shrink)
Feminist economists have demonstrated that interrogating hierarchies based on gender, ethnicity, class and nation results in an economics that is biased and more faithful to empirical evidence than are mainstream accounts. This rigorous and comprehensive book examines many of the central philosophical questions and themes in feminist economics including: · History of economics · Feminist science studies · Identity and agency · Caring labor · Postcolonialism and postmodernism With contributions from such leading figures as Nancy Folbre, Julie Nelson and Sandra (...) Harding, Toward a Feminist Theory of Economics looks set to become the book on feminist economics for some time to come and will be greatly appreciated by all those interested in gender studies, economic methodology and social theory. (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)
The Rejected Body argues that feminist theorizing has been skewed toward non-disabled experience, and that the knowledge of people with disabilities must be integrated into feminist ethics, discussions of bodily life, and criticism of the cognitive and social authority of medicine. Among the topics it addresses are who should be identified as disabled; whether disability is biomedical, social or both; what causes disability and what could 'cure' it; and whether scientific efforts to eliminate disabling physical conditions are morally justified. Wendell (...) provides a remarkable look at how cultural attitudes towards the body contribute to the stigma of disability and to widespread unwillingness to accept and provide for the body's inevitable weakness. (shrink)
The ways in which knowledge relates to power have been much discussed in radical education theory. New emphasis on the role of gender and the growing debate about subjectivity have deepened the discussion, while making it more complex. In Getting Smart , Patti Lather makes use of her unique integration of feminism and postmodernism into critical education theory to address some of the most vital questions facing education researchers and teachers.
Newcomers and more experienced feminist theorists will welcome this even-handed survey of the care/justice debate within feminist ethics. Grace Clement clarifies the key terms, examines the arguments and assumptions of all sides to the debate, and explores the broader implications for both practical and applied ethics. Readers will appreciate her generous treatment of the feminine, feminist, and justice-based perspectives that have dominated the debate.Clement also goes well beyond description and criticism, advancing the discussion through the incorporation of a broad range (...) of insights into a new integration of the values of care and justice. Care, Autonomy, and Justice marks a major step forward in our understanding of feminist ethics. It is both direct and helpful enough to work as an introduction for students and insightful and original enough to make it necessary reading for scholars. (shrink)
Standpoint theory is an explicitly political as well as social epistemology. Its central insight is that epistemic advantage may accrue to those who are oppressed by structures of domination and discounted as knowers. Feminist standpoint theorists hold that gender is one dimension of social differentiation that can make such a difference. In response to two longstanding objections I argue that epistemically consequential standpoints need not be conceptualized in essentialist terms, and that they do not confer automatic or comprehensive epistemic privilege (...) on those who occupy them. Standpoint theory is best construed as conceptual framework for investigating the ways in which socially situated experience and interests make a contingent difference to what we know (well), and to the resources we have for determining which knowledge claims we can trust. I illustrate the advantages of this account in terms of two examples drawn from archaeological sources. (shrink)
A feminist primer for philosophers of science -- The legacy of twentieth century philosophy of science -- What feminist science studies can offer -- Challenges from every direction -- The prospects of twenty-first century philosophy of science.
In a compelling chronicle of her search to understand Beauvoir's philosophy in The Second Sex, Margaret A. Simons offers a unique perspective on Beauvoir's wide-ranging contribution to twentieth-century thought. She details the discovery of the origins of Beauvoir's existential philosophy in her handwritten diary from 1927; uncovers evidence of the sexist exclusion of Beauvoir from the philosophical canon; reveals evidence that the African-American writer Richard Wright provided Beauvoir with the theoretical model of oppression that she used in The Second Sex; (...) shows the influence of The Second Sex in transforming Sartre's philosophy and in laying the theoretical foundations of radical feminism; and addresses feminist issues of racism, motherhood, and lesbian identity. Simons also draws on her experience as a Women's Liberation organizer as she witnessed how women used The Second Sex in defining the foundations of radical feminism. Bringing together her work as both activist and scholar, Simons offers a highly original contribution to the renaissance of Beauvoir scholarship. (shrink)