Hard Bargains
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Hard Bargains : The Politics of Sex

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Description

Men and women have always bargained for sex. In Hard Bargains, philosopher-lawyer Linda Hirshman and legal historian Jane Larson provide the first complete analysis ofpower in heterosexual relationships, combining an eye-opening legal history of sexual regulation with thought-provoking predictions of what the future might bring. Hirshman and Larson tell a riveting tale that spans the centuries-from early accounts of adulterers hanging from the gibbet, to the impact of the Kinsey Reports and Hugh Hefner's playboy philosophy, to the Swinging Sixties judge who argued in favour of sex with eleven year-olds. The book examines the factors that have shaped our notions of sex, from Catholic teaching to the theories of Sigmund Freud, and it explores the Supreme Court decisions of the last few decades that revolutionized the politics of sex. And Hard Bargains not only provides a deep understanding of historical and current disputes, it also offers striking predictions of what sexual bargaining will look like in the future-rape laws replaced by laws of sexual autonomy, adultery subjected to breach of contract action, fornicators responsible for each other's rent, prostitution considered an unfair labor practice. These are a few of the surprising-and surprisingly workable-solutions the authors foresee in the 21st century. Hard Bargains takes a forthright and level-headed look at all aspects of one of the biggest controversies in contemporary American society-heterosexual sex-and delivers a radically new perspective on the sexual lives of women and men.show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 320 pages
  • 133.9 x 201.4 x 15mm | 248.82g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 0195134206
  • 9780195134209

About Linda Hirshman

Linda Hirshman is Allen Berenson Distinguished visiting Professor at Brandeis University. She lives in Cave Creek, Arizona, and Falmouth, Massachusetts. Jane Larson is Professor of Law at the University of Wisconsin Law School. She lives in Madison, Wisconsin.show more

Review quote

"The book leaves no sheet unturned to make its point that sex between men and women should not be a private matter. Instead, sex is an extension of social life, and every sex act contributes to the public welfare."-Playboy "Libraries with patrons for relatively demanding wroks on gender issues and legal theory may want to acquire this challenging analysis of sex, power, law, and history."-Booklist "This is an important, original, and thoroughly engaging book. Anyone interested in the role of law in improving our public lives and our sexual politics will find this work extremely valuable. Although their premise-that sex is or ought to be understood as a bargain-is sure to provoke passionate debate... their suggested reforms in current law, if adopted, might well move us toward a more just socio-sexual world. "-Professor Robin West, Georgetown University Law Center "This is a superb book. It will raise a storm of controversy and will prove very influential in terms of public policy and legal reform."-Carroll Smith-Rosenberg, Professor of History, American Culture, and Women's Studies, The University of Michigan, Ann Arbor "From Plato to Catharine MacKinnon, the authors trace the varying philosophical viewpoints of heterosexual politics. Their premise is that heterosexual sex is political and that much of sexual politics is worked out in discrete instances of one-on-one bargaining outside the public eye.' Although the narrative travels swiftly through history, it manages to feel remarkably thorough and gives the impression that the authors filtered details out only when appropriate."-The National Law Journal "This is a well written, well researched history of the public regulation of sexual behavior. The authors' outspokeness and radical slant will make this a controversial book, but it is not orthodox or doctrinaire, and the forcefulness, clarity, and skill with which the authors defend their position will challenge skeptics. Although there is much in the book which I disagree, it is a good and interesting book and deserves to make a splash."-Richard A. Posner, United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit "Offers an incisive look into how morality gets shaped and regulated. As much, it is an important contribution to feminist theory and U.S. social history."-Library Journal "In Hard Bargains Hirshman and Larson argue that heterosexual bargains, particularly outside of marriage, are presently made in a virtual state of nature, that this is intolerably unjust, and that law should be used to structure fair agreements in our sexual lives by strengthening the hand of the weak. Althoug their premise-that sex is or ought to be understood as a bargain-is sure to provoke passionate debate, their Hobbesian argument is admirably clear, the history of heterosexual politics and the intellectual movements surrounding them is well-told, and their suggested reformes in current law, if adopted, might well move us toward a more just socio-sexual world. This is an important book, original, and thoroughly engaging book. Anyone interested in the role of law in improving our public lives and our sexual politics will find this work extremely valuable."-Robin West, Georgetown University Law School "This is well-written, well researched history of the public regulation of sexual behavior. The authors' outspokenness and radical slant will make this a controversial book, but it is not orthodox or doctrinaire, and the forcefulness, clarity, adn skill with which the authors defend their position will challenge skeptics. Although there is much in the book with which I disagree, it is a good and interesting book and deserves to make a splash."-Richard A. Posner, Chief Judge, United States Court of Appealsshow more

Rating details

5 ratings
3.6 out of 5 stars
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4 40% (2)
3 20% (1)
2 20% (1)
1 0% (0)
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