Is Multiculturalism Bad for Women?

Is Multiculturalism Bad for Women?

Paperback

By (author) Susan Moller Okin, Edited by Joshua Arthur Cohen, Edited by Ruth Sloan, Edited by Matthew Howard, Edited by Martha C. Nussbaum

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  • Publisher: Princeton University Press
  • Format: Paperback | 152 pages
  • Dimensions: 154mm x 228mm x 14mm | 259g
  • Publication date: 29 August 1999
  • Publication City/Country: New Jersey
  • ISBN 10: 0691004323
  • ISBN 13: 9780691004327
  • Edition statement: New.
  • Sales rank: 262,355

Product description

Polygamy, forced marriage, female genital mutilation, punishing women for being raped, differential access for men and women to health care and education, unequal rights of ownership, assembly, and political participation, unequal vulnerability to violence. These practices and conditions are standard in some parts of the world. Do demands for multiculturalism - and certain minority group rights in particular - make them more likely to continue and to spread to liberal democracies? Are there fundamental conflicts between our commitment to gender equity and our increasing desire to respect the customs of minority cultures or religions? In this book, the eminent feminist Susan Moller Okin and fifteen of the world's leading thinkers about feminism and multiculturalism explore these unsettling questions in a provocative, passionate, and illuminating debate. Okin opens by arguing that some group rights can, in fact, endanger women. She points, for example, to the French government's giving thousands of male immigrants special permission to bring multiple wives into the country, despite French laws against polygamy and the wives' own bitter opposition to the practice. Okin argues that if we agree that women should not be disadvantaged because of their sex, we should not accept group rights that permit oppressive practices on the grounds that they are fundamental to minority cultures whose existence may otherwise be threatened. In reply, some respondents reject Okin's position outright, contending that her views are rooted in a moral universalism that is blind to cultural difference. Others quarrel with Okin's focus on gender, or argue that we should be careful about which group rights we permit, but not reject the category of group rights altogether. Okin concludes with a rebuttal, clarifying, adjusting, and extending her original position. These incisive and accessible essays - expanded from their original publication in "Boston Review" and including four new contributions - are indispensable reading for anyone interested in one of the most contentious social and political issues today. The diverse contributors, in addition to Okin, are Azizah al-Hibri, Abdullahi An-Na'im, Homi Bhabha, Sander Gilman, Janet Halley, Bonnie Honig, Will Kymlicka, Martha Nussbaum, Bhikhu Parekh, Katha Pollitt, Robert Post, Joseph Raz, Saskia Sassen, Cass Sunstein, and Yael Tamir.

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Review quote

"This collection offers succinct, compelling and intelligent arguments on both sides, notably from a diverse group of respondents' to Okin's views..."--Publisher's Weekly

Back cover copy

"This book brings together impressively varied voices who help to set the terms for discussing the relationship of feminism and multiculturalism. They show in no uncertain terms that feminists have something important to say to multiculturalists, and vice versa."--Amy Gutmann, Princeton University "This is a magnificent contribution to the field. It manages the tour de force of combining a striking contribution to political philosophy with an extremely readable text that will engage the general intellectual reader. All the entries are well written, short and to the point, and arranged in a fair, balanced way that never lets the attention sag."--Jane Mansbridge, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University

Table of contents

Introduction: Feminism, Multiculturalism, and Human Equality Joshua Cohen, Matthew Howard, and Martha C. Nussbaum 3 PART 1: IS MULTICULTURALISM BAD FOR WOMEN? Susan Moller Okin 7 PART 2: RESPONSES Whose Culture? Katha Pollitt 27 Liberal Complacencies Will Kymlicka 31 "My Culture Made Me Do It" Bonnie Honig 35 Is Western Patriarchal Feminism Good for Third World / Minority Women? Azizah Y. al-Hibri 41 Siding With the Underdogs Yael Tamir 47 "Barbaric" Rituals? Sander L. Gilman 53 Promises We should All Keep in Common Cause Abdullahi An-Na'im 59 Between Norms and Choices Robert Post 65 A Varied Moral World Bhikhu Parekh 69 Culture beyond Gender Saskia Sassen 76 Liberalism's Sacred Cow Homi K. Bhabha 79 Should Sex Equality Law Apply to Religious Institutions? Cass R. Sunstein 85 How Perfect Should One Be? And Whose Culture Is? Joseph Raz 95 Culture Constrains Janet E. Halley 100 A Plea for Difficulty Martha C. Nussbaum 105 PART 3: REPLY Susan Moller Okin 115 NOTES 133 CONTRIBUTORS 145