Gender and Culture
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Gender and Culture

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Description

The idea that respect for cultural diversity conflicts with gender equality is now a staple of both public and academic debate. Yet discussion of these tensions is marred by exaggerated talk of cultural difference, leading to ethnic reductionism, cultural stereotyping, and a hierarchy of traditional and modern. In this volume, Anne Phillips firmly rejects the notion that culture might justify the oppression of women, but also queries the stereotypical binaries that have represented people from ethnocultural minorities as peculiarly resistant to gender equality. The questions addressed include the relationship between universalism and cultural relativism, how to distinguish valid generalisation from either gender or cultural essentialism, and how to recognise women as agents rather than captives of culture. The discussions are illuminated by reference to legal cases and policy interventions, with a particular focus on forced marriage and cultural defence.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 192 pages
  • 152 x 232 x 18mm | 358.34g
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0745647995
  • 9780745647999
  • 2,323,218

Back cover copy

'Anne Phillips's work demonstrates the exhilaration and importanceof sustained critique. This insightful work is the latestcontribution in her deft and decisive critiques ofmulticulturalism. It lays out the moral, philosophical andpractical grounds at stake in tackling the intractable Gordian knotof gender and culture. It raises all our hopes and forces us torethink the most settled of positions.'
Henrietta Moore, London School of Economics

The idea that respect for cultural diversity conflicts withgender equality is now a staple of both public and academic debate.Yet discussion of these tensions is marred by exaggerated talk ofcultural difference, leading to ethnic reductionism, culturalstereotyping and a hierarchy of traditional and modern. In thisvolume, Anne Phillips rejects the notion that 'culture' mightjustify the oppression of women, but also queries the stereotypicalbinaries that have represented people from ethnocultural minoritiesas peculiarly resistant to gender equality.

The questions addressed include the relationship betweenuniversalism and cultural relativism, how to distinguish validgeneralization from either gender or cultural essentialism, and howto recognize women as agents rather than captives of culture. Thediscussions are illuminated by reference to legal cases and policyinterventions, with a particular focus on forced marriage andcultural defence.

No-one should assume that the choices women make about theirlives are forced on them by oppressive and patriarchal cultures, and governments should be wary about leaping prematurely intoprotective mode. A focus on women's agency can, however, lead tocomplacency, understating the cultural and other pressuresoperating on them and the sometimes urgent need for (evenpaternalistic) protection. The debate on this continues.
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Table of contents

Acknowledgements vi 1 Introduction 1 2 Multiculturalism, universalism and the claims of democracy 16 3 Dilemmas of gender and culture: the judge, the democrat and the political activist 38 4 What is culture ? 57 5 What s wrong with essentialism? 69 6 When culture means gender: issues of cultural defence in the English courts 83 7 Free to decide for oneself 107 8 Consent, autonomy and coercion: forced marriage, public policy and the courts 124 Notes 142 Bibliography 157 Index 165
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Review quote

"[Phillips] draws attention to a whole new set of questions about the relationship between gender and culture and provides directions for future research in this area." Political Studies Review "Anne Phillips's work demonstrates the exhilaration and importance of sustained critique. This insightful work is the latest contribution in her deft and decisive critiques of multiculturalism. It lays out the moral, philosophical and practical grounds at stake in tackling the intractable Gordian knot of gender and culture. It raises all our hopes and forces us to rethink the most settled of positions." Henrietta Moore, London School of Economics
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About Revd Dr Anne Phillips

Anne Phillips is Professor of Political and Gender Theory AT London School of Economics and Political Science.
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