Gender, Politics and the State by Vicky Randall

By Vicky Randall

During the last 20 years our figuring out of the connection of gender, politics and the nation has been remodeled nearly past attractiveness via the mutual interrogation of feminism and political technological know-how. This quantity presents an outline of this dynamic and transforming into box, which displays either its increasing empirical scope and the accompanying theoretical improvement and debate.The first 3 essays concentration totally on conceptual and theoretical concerns: the which means of 'gender'; the state's function within the building of gender in the private and non-private sphere; and the political illustration of gender adjustments inside of liberal democracy. the remainder six supply analyses of extra concrete problems with country coverage and participation in differeing nationwide political contexts: abortion politics in eire; the neighborhood politics of prostitution in Britain, the effect on women's political participation of monetary switch in China, Latin the United States and political switch in Russia, and the gender effect of nation programmes of land reform.

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In an oral and very public remark Wendy Brown once commented that feminist theorists would have to address mainstream/malestream political theory as such, changing its terms of reference and doing it differently, otherwise the work of feminist theorists would always be ‘Mrs Political Theory’, with all that that false honorific implies. Perhaps I may be allowed one further illustrative anecdote, though I shall do my best to disguise the identity of my interlocutor. A male colleague in political science once explained that his work could not include women political leaders, because as a matter of fact there weren’t any in his field of study.

Political Studies 40 (special issue on ‘Prospects for Democracy’): 68–82. ’: Feminism and the Category of ‘Women’ in History, London: Macmillan. Segal, Lynne (1990) Slow Motion: Changing Masculinities, Changing Men, London: Virago. Seidler, Victor J. ) (1991a) The Achilles Heel Reader, London: Routledge. Seidler, Victor J. (1991b) Recreating Sexual Politics, London: Routledge. Walby, Sylvia (1990) Theorizing Patriarchy, Oxford: Blackwell. Weeks, Jeffrey (1985) Sexuality and its Discontents: Meaning, Myths and Modern Sexualities, London: Routledge & Kegan Paul.

This is not to say that there are no bodily differences, or that bodily differences do not matter, as obviously they do, but that conceptualisations of bodily difference are not power-neutral. Rather, they are undertaken for purposes involving power, claims to the contrary notwithstanding. Thus a binary involving sex is socially created and enforced, but this enforcement swiftly raises other issues: reproduction, orientation, sexuality. Over the last 100 years the social sciences have unpacked a vast realm of differences involving class, ‘race’/ethnicity, culture and sheer individuality.

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