By Gisela Bock, Susan James
Traditionally, in addition to extra lately, women's emancipation has been obvious in methods: occasionally because the `right to be equivalent' and occasionally because the `right to be different'. those perspectives have frequently overlapped and interacted: in quite a few guises they've got performed a massive function in either the improvement of rules approximately girls and feminism, and the works of political thinkers in no way essentially keen on women's liberation. The chapters of this booklet deal basically with the that means and use of those thoughts within the context of gender family (past and present), but additionally draw consciousness to their position within the figuring out and research of different human relationships.
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Extra info for Beyond Equality and Difference: Citizenship, Feminist Politics and Female Subjectivity
It is helpful here to recall once more the Greek background to this issue. In Aristotle (as in Plato and others) we find a correspondence between ‘man’, understood as the human species in general, and ‘male’, which was to pass into most western languages as the universalization of the male and which was never thought about as a problem. BEYOND EQUALITY AND DIFFERENCE 33 This twofold valency of the male, on the one hand male and on the other neutral or universal, had an unprecedented impact on modern political thought.
The repression of female sexual difference, at both the elementary and a complex level, is reproduced point by point in the logic of society. The elementary level of repression consists once again in the simple exclusion of women. The ‘market’, a fundamental aspect of society, in its initial historical phase excludes women. Owners and wage-earners are seen only as men, are, let us say, naturally and obviously male. A market of men alone is stratified according to differences among males and is woven of their competitive conflicts.
On the one hand, the state and its principle of equality are based on reason; on the other hand, the passions, above all the passion to possess, give rise to private property which maps out a society of rich and poor, owners and wage-earners. My concern here15 is only to emphasize how, starting from the twofold nature of the natural individual, the polity divides into distinct spheres, characterized respectively by abstract equality (the state) and concrete differences (society). By contrast with the hierarchical pre-modern model, society —the sphere of differences—is not reflected in differences of rights or political powers, but is presented, somewhat ideologically, as a free field of resources for which in theory subjects can compete.