Feminism on Family - Dictionary of Arguments
Gaus I 279
Family/Feminism/Mottier: (...) there is considerable disagreement as to how precisely to conceptualize the boundaries of the state. As Susan Moller Okin (1991)(1) points out, political science tends to confuse different usages of the terms 'public' and 'private':
first, to refer to the distinction between state and society; and
second, to refer to the distinction between domestic and non-domestic spheres.
The first distinction between state and family is particularly problematic from a feminist point of view: this dichotomy, where everything that relates to the family is considered as private, leads to the exclusion from the conceptual field of political science of a whole series of themes that are, in fact, essential, such as the problem of justice in everyday life, the political dimension of the family, or inequalities between men and women (Okin, 1991)(1). The majority of classic and modern political thinkers (with the exception of Held, Walzer and Sandel) consequently exclude the family from their analyses of political power either explicitly, as do Rousseau, Locke or Hegel, or implicitly, as does John Rawls (Pateman, 1989(2); Okin, 1991(1)).
Okin: As Okin notes, this omission is somewhat ironic since the revitalization of modern political theory has in fact coincided with major changes in the family, as well as in wider social relations of gender and their challenge by feminist theory and practice. >Inequalities/Okin, >Privay/Anne Philips.
1. Okin, Susan Moller (1991) 'Gender, the public, the private'. In David Held, ed., Political Theory Today. Cambridge: Polity, 67—90.
2. Pateman, Carole (1989) The Disorder of Women: Democracy, Feminism and Political Theory.
Véronique Mottier 2004. „Feminism and Gender Theory: The Return of the State“. In: Gaus, Gerald F. & Kukathas, Chandran 2004. Handbook of Political Theory. SAGE Publications_____________Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution. Translations: Dictionary of Arguments The note [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.
Gerald F. Gaus
Handbook of Political Theory London 2004