The Future of Differences

The Future of Differences : Truth and Method in Feminist Theory

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Description

This key work addresses one of the most central and controversial issues in contemporary feminist theory: the problem of difference.show more

Product details

  • Electronic book text | 184 pages
  • John Wiley and Sons Ltd
  • Polity Press
  • United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0745677436
  • 9780745677439

Back cover copy

This key work addresses one of the most central and controversial issues in contemporary feminist theory: the problem of difference. Hekman argues that the current focus on differences among women - race, class, sexual orientation, and ethnicity - necessitates a new approach to feminist social critique. Hekman traces the history of feminist accounts of difference, from Simone de Beauvoir to Donna Haraway and beyond. She examines the ways in which feminists have tried to erase, emphasize or pluralize difference. She argues that we need new definitions of method and truth which avoid the twin liabilities of universalistic assumptions and postmodern nihilism. Hekman develops an approach that recognizes differences between women without abandoning the general concepts which are necessary to social critique. She employs the work of many contemporary theorists, including Weber, Gadamer and Wittgenstein, to formulate a new feminist methodology and epistemology for the social sciences. This new approach will help to define truths rather than truth, differences rather than difference, in future feminist thought. This important book will be essential reading for advanced undergraduate students, postgraduates and scholars in feminist theory, philosophy and political theory.show more

About Susan J. Hekman

Susan Hekman is Professor of Political Science, University of Texas at Arlington.show more

Review quote

'This is an ambitious book. It seeks to develop a clear theory of difference(s) on which to ground feminist epistemology and practice. Hekman's contention is that feminists must eschew equally both universalism and relativism. Her careful and insightful readings of feminist classics and contemporary scholarship have produced a text that will become a classic in its own right. Hekman's modestly stated ambition is to provide a form of analysis that engages both with differences and with general concepts. Her reading of Weber is truly a tour de force in this regard. This is a book that every feminist scholar will want to read and use.' Henrietta L. Moore, Professor of Social Anthropology and Director of the Gender Institute, London School of Economics 'The Future of Differences makes an invaluable contribution to feminist theory. With her characteristic precision and clarity, Hekman has provided a valuable guide to the new epistemic terrain into which a focus on differences has led feminist theory and practice. Skilfully bringing together the work of numerous theorists, she argues that a feminism of difference must embrace a pluralist paradigm that includes an epistemology of truths rather than Truth. This is a book that will change the way we do moral theory and epistemology. This is a book to be read carefully, thought about, and shared with others.' Professor Nancy Tuana, Department of Philosophy, University of Oregonshow more

Table of contents

1. The Problem of Difference. The Other. From erasure to emphasis. From difference to differences. The future of differences. 2. From Difference to Differences: The Case of Feminist Standpoint Theory. Defining the feminist standpoint. The challenge of difference: redefining the feminist standpoint. Toward a new paradigm. 3. A Method for Differences. Feminism, method and difference. Weber's ideal type. Feminist ideal types. Conclusion. 4. The Epistemology of Moral Voice: Displacing Hegemony in Moral/Legal Discourse. . Different moral voices. Different legal voices. A new legal game. An alternative moral epistemology: multiple voices. 5. Backgrounds and Riverbeds: Feminist Reflections. Theories of the Background. Subverting the Background. Shifting the riverbed. Conclusion. Notes. References. Index.show more