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Engendering Modernity. Feminism, Social Theory and Social Change

  • ID: 2247498
  • Book
  • August 1994
  • 208 Pages
  • John Wiley and Sons Ltd
This book examines the debates around modernity and post–modernity from the viewpoint of feminist theory. Marshall argues that, despite the differences between classical debates about modernity and the more recent controversies concerning the alleged 'end of modernity', both sets of debates share something in common: they tell a one–sided story which neglects the role of women and the significance of gender in the formation of contemporary societies.

Marshall begins by re–examining classical social theory and the ways in which women figured as a 'strategic absence' in classical debates about capitalism and modernity. She then examines a range of more recent debates, including the development of socialist feminist theory and its impasses; the various attempts to theorize subjectivity; the analysis of the role of the state and political discourse in regulating gendered identities; and the claim that the project of the Enlightenment, with its emphasis on autonomy and emancipation, has exhausted itself in the late twentieth century.

Marshall is sceptical of some of the stronger claims of post–modern theorists and she argues that the project of modernity, flawed as it is, still contains considerable potential to ground an emancipatory practice. But she also argues that, if we wish to understand the nature and development of modernity, we must give more attention to questions of gender. Hence feminist theory, together with post–colonial and anti–racist theories, have the potential to revitalize and enrich a critical social theory of modernity.
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1. Gender and Modernity: Classical Issues, Contemporary Debates.

2. Rethinking the Gendered Division of Labour.

3. Social Reproduction and Socialist Feminist Theory.

4. Gendered Identities.

5. Gender Politics: Regulation and Resistance.

6. Feminist Theory as Critical Theory.



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'A timely and interesting contribution ... this book provides an excellent summary of environmental concerns for social scientists ... this book can be warmly recommended.'

'For students of Women's Studies requiring a graduate level introductory survey of modernism from a sociological point of view, this book could serve as a kind of scenic flight high above the terrain.' Women's Philosophy Review

'It will be a useful text for upper level sociology students who have some familiarity with the fields and debates under discussion. It will also encourage the bridging of two continuing gaps: that between sociology and feminist theory ... the format is clear and signposted well enough for readers to find a way through this dialogue between (some) feminist and sociological theories.' Australian and New Zealand Journal of Sociology
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