Engendering Modernity

Engendering Modernity : Feminism, Social Theory and Social Change

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This text examines the debates around modernity and postmodernity 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 have 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 20th century. Marshall is sceptical of some of the stronger claims of postmodern theorists and 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, has the potential to revitalize and enrich a critical social theory of modernity.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 200 pages
  • 152 x 229mm
  • Polity Press
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • notes, references, index
  • 0745609279
  • 9780745609270

Table of contents

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.show more