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Feminism: Feminism is a range of social movements, political movements, and ideologies that aim to define and establish the political, economic, personal, and social equality of the sexes. Feminism incorporates the position that societies prioritize the male point of view, and that women are treated unfairly within those societies. See also Equal rights, Emancipation.
Annotation: The above characterizations of concepts are neither definitions nor exhausting presentations of problems related to them. Instead, they are intended to give a short introduction to the contributions below. – Lexicon of Arguments.

Author Concept Summary/Quotes Sources

Terence Ball on Feminism - Dictionary of Arguments

Gaus I 23
Feminism/Ball: 1) A feminist or gender-centred approach to the history of political thought began in the 1960s when women were looking for a ‘usable past’, a history that connected present struggles with previous ones largely neglected by historians, most of whom were male. Feminist historians of political thought sought heroines – and heroes – who had championed the cause of women’s rights and related causes.
2) In [an] angrier - and arguably more accurate - second phase, feminist scholars set out to expose and criticize the misogyny lurking in the works of Plato, Aristotle, Machiavelli, Hobbes, Locke,
Gaus I 24
Rousseau, Bentham, Mill, and Marx, amongst many others.
, >Aristotle, >N. Machiavelli, >Th. Hobbes, >J. Locke, >J.-J. Rousseau, >J. Bentham, >J.St. Mill, >K. Marx.
The public/private dichotomy and the concept of consent in liberal theory are a sham, the social contract is a ‘fraternal’ construct, and the modern welfare state is a covertly patriarchal institution (Pateman, 1989)(1).
>C. Pateman.
3) A third phase followed in which the ostensibly civic virtues of men were turned into vices – the hunger for power, domination, or simply showing off – that women supposedly lacked. Men are domineering, women nurturing; men competitive, women co-operative; men think and judge in abstract and universal categories, women in concrete and particular instances; and so on. A new phrase – ‘maternal thinking’ – was coined to cover this gently militant momism (Ruddick, 1989)(2). On this view, men are absent fathers and domineering patriarchs; women are caring and concerned mothers speaking ‘in a different voice’ (Gilligan, 1982)(3). This represents something of a return to the ‘biology-is-destiny’ essentialism and ‘functionalism’ criticized so vigorously by Okin and others.
>S.M. Okin.
It also accepts the public/private distinction criticized by Pateman and others, upending and reifying that dichotomy so that the ‘private’ realm of the family is taken to be superior to the ‘public’ area of politics, power, aggression, and war (Elshtain, 1987)(4).
>J.B. Elshtain.
Maternalism: The new ‘maternal thinking’ – and the new maternalists’ approach to the history of political thought, in particular – did not want for critics. Against the maternalists’ valorization of the private realm and the celebration of mothering, Mary Dietz (1985)(5) and other feminist critics held out the prospect of an active and engaged civic feminism, or ‘citizenship with a feminist face’.

1. Pateman, Carole (1989) The Disorder of Women. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.
2. Ruddick, Sara (1989) Maternal Thinking: Toward a Politics of Peace. Boston: Beacon.
3. Gilligan, Carol (1982) In a Different Voice. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
4. Elshtain, Jean Bethke (1987) Women and War. New York: Praeger.
5. Dietz, Mary G. (1985) ‘Citizenship with a feminist face: the problem with maternal thinking’. Political Theory, 13: 19–37.

Ball, Terence. 2004. „History and the Interpretation of Texts“. In: Gaus, Gerald F. 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 [Concept/Author], [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] resp. "problem:"/"solution:", "old:"/"new:" and "thesis:" is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.
Ball, Terence
Gaus I
Gerald F. Gaus
Chandran Kukathas
Handbook of Political Theory London 2004

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