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Chapter

Cover Issues in Political Theory

9. Gender  

Clare Chambers

This chapter discusses gender. Mainstream political theorists have often ignored the issue of gender difference, and so feminists have had to argue for its significance and importance. There are many varieties of feminism, just as there are many varieties of liberalism or egalitarianism. However, it is possible to identify three theses that all feminists support, in one form or another. These theses are the entrenchment of gender; the existence of patriarchy; and the need for change. A key theme of feminist theory has been the idea that it is vital to distinguish the terms ‘sex’ and ‘gender’. According to the distinction, ‘sex’ refers to biological differences and ‘gender’ refers to social differences. Feminists use philosophical and political methods that are common to other theories or campaigns, but there are some distinctively feminist methods, such as the Woman Question and consciousness raising.

Chapter

Cover Human Rights: Politics and Practice

2. Feminist and Activist Approaches to Human Rights  

Ackerly Brooke

This chapter explores the theoretical and political history of human rights that emerges out of the struggles that have been waged by feminists and other non-elites. It first considers the bases for the moral legitimacy of human rights and challenges to those arguments before discussing three aspects of feminist approaches to human rights: their criticism of some aspects of the theory and practice of human rights, their rights claims, and their conceptual contributions to a theory of human rights. It then examines the ways in which feminists and other activists for marginalized groups have used human rights in their struggles and how such struggles have in turn shaped human rights theory. It also analyses theoretical and historical objections to the universality of human rights based on cultural relativism. Finally, it shows that women’s rights advocates want rights enjoyment and not merely entitlements.

Chapter

Cover The Globalization of World Politics

10. Feminism  

Helen M. Kinsella

This chapter examines international feminism, focusing on whether feminist international relations theories are necessary for understanding international politics, what basis feminist international relations theories provide for understanding international politics, and how feminist international relations theories have influenced the practice of international politics. The chapter proceeds by explaining feminism and feminist international relations theory as well as feminist conceptions of gender and power. It also discusses four feminist international relations theories: liberal feminist international relations, critical feminist international relations, postcolonial feminist international relations, and poststructural feminist international relations. Two case studies of women's organizations are presented: the Women's International League of Peace and Freedom and the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan.

Chapter

Cover The Globalization of World Politics

9. Feminism  

Helen M. Kinsella

This chapter examines international feminism, focusing on how feminist international relations theories are necessary for understanding international politics, what feminist international relations theories provide for understanding international politics, and how feminist international relations theories have influenced the practice of international politics. The chapter proceeds by explaining feminism and feminist international relations theory as well as feminist conceptions of gender and power. It also discusses four feminist international relations theories: liberal feminist international relations, critical feminist international relations, postcolonial feminist international relations, and poststructural feminist international relations. Two case studies of women's organizations are presented: the Women's International League of Peace and Freedom and the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan. There is also an Opposing Opinions box that asks whether feminist foreign policy changes states' foreign policy decisions.

Book

Cover Human Rights
Human Rights: Theory and Practice provides in-depth theoretical content and features coverage of human rights issues in practice, with a wide range of case studies showing true-to-life examples from around the world. This fourth edition brings the text up to date with new readings centred on recent and relevant issues. It is an interdisciplinary examination of human rights, rather than strictly political science-centric. The first part of the book looks at theory and includes chapters on the philosophical foundations of human rights, international law, politics, and feminist approaches to human rights. There are also chapters that cover imperialism, social life, and performative practice. The second part looks at practice. Here chapters cover genocide, humanitarian intervention, transitional justice, and treaties and enforcement. There are also chapters on political democracy and state repression, migration, refugees, the environment, indigenous rights, and language sovereignty. This part also looks at social movements, issues related to sexual orientation and gender identity, religion, and the human right to water. The final chapter in the second part examines the SDGs and economic rights.

Chapter

Cover Rethinking Political Thinkers

19. Hannah Arendt  

Kei Hiruta

This chapter covers the life and work of political theorist Hannah Arendt. It explains Arendt’s theory of totalitarianism alongside her central arguments and idiosyncratic methodology. The chapter then examines her theory of revolution which distinguished liberation as the overthrow of an old oppressive regime and revolution as the establishment of a new order of freedom. The chapter also examines Arendt’s attempt to offer a new political theory attuned to the post-totalitarian present, exploring the key concepts of action, speech, natality, plurality, freedom, and politics. It discusses criticisms of Arendt’s theories related to her cultural biases and racial prejudices and considers the ambivalence of her legacy of feminist theory.

Chapter

Cover Rethinking Political Thinkers

38. Donna Haraway  

Claire Colebrook

This chapter explores the various disciplinary and political dimensions of Donna Haraway’s work revolving around the negotiation of the interdisciplinary problem of the Anthropocene. It considers Haraway’s works which range between feminist interventions in science studies, animal studies, and environmental criticism. Haraway’s A Cyborg Manifesto (1985) offers a feminist response to broadly Marxist accounts of the relationship between technology and history while also reconfiguring and responding to feminist forms of socialism. After briefly introducing Haraway’s contributions to standpoint theory and posthumanism, this chapter turns to an examination of her critique of science and her alternative way of considering the world in which the boundaries between the human and non-human disappear. Haraway outlines various ways to think about planetary change and develops a conception of the Chthulucene that captures the complexity of the present, including the transformation of nature through human histories.

Chapter

Cover Global Political Economy

2. The Nineteenth-Century Roots of Theoretical Traditions in Global Political Economy  

Matthew Watson

This chapter focuses on the historical origins and the subsequent intellectual lineage of the three core theoretical positions within contemporary global political economy (GPE): realism, liberalism, and Marxism. ‘Textbook GPE’ privileges nineteenth-century understandings of political economy when discussing the pre-history of its own field. This helps explains GPE's treatment of feminist scholarship within the textbooks; feminism remains largely marginalized from textbook GPE, presented as something of a postscript to avoid accusations of it having been omitted altogether rather than being placed centre stage in the discussion. The chapter then looks at how the nineteenth-century overlay operates in textbook GPE. To do so, it makes sense to concentrate in the first instance on the issue that did most to divide nineteenth-century economists: namely, the free trade policies resulting from the general ascendancy of laissez-faire ideology. The most celebrated of the critics, Friedrich List, is treated much more as a dependable authority figure in GPE than he is in the history of economic thought. Indeed, in textbook GPE, the disputes between realist and liberal positions is very often presented initially through an account of List's work, despite the pre-history of liberalism being much the longer of the two.

Chapter

Cover Rethinking Political Thinkers

32. John Rawls  

Maeve Mckeown

This chapter examines the significance of A Theory of Justice (1971) written by John Rawls in contemporary Anglo-American political philosophy. It examines the basic contours of Rawls’ theory and addresses the Rawlsian self in what he calls ‘the original position’. Feminists and critical race theorists disagree over the potential of self that Rawls proposed to generate a non-sexist, anti-racist society, and philosophers of disability highlight its ableist assumptions. The chapter looks at the idea of a Rawlsian society being governed by a ‘just basic structure’. It highlights three issues: (1) the ambiguity of the concept of a basic structure separate from individual behaviour and other institutions; (2) the concern that focusing on the basic structure fails to address power relations between groups; and (3) that it limits the scope of justice to the nation state. While acknowledging the profound contributions of Rawls, the chapter concludes that Rawlsian ideal theory is not the best approach from the perspective of feminist, anti-racist, and anti-ableist philosophy.

Chapter

Cover Political Thinkers

23. J. S. Mill on the Subjection of Women  

Jennifer Ring

This chapter examines John Stuart Mill's treatise The Subjection of Women, a manifesto of liberal feminism that advocates ‘perfect equality’ between the sexes. Written in 1861 and published in 1869, The Subjection of Women has been criticised by contemporary feminist theorists, who find Mill's theory lacking because of its political shortcomings and contradictions. The chapter analyses the political and intellectual context in which The Subjection of Women was written as well as its significance from the standpoint of contemporary feminist theory. It considers Mill's relationship with his father, James Mill, and with his wife, Harriet Taylor, along with the emergence of the women's rights movement in the United States and England. It also assesses the political import and methodological perspective of the work and concludes with a discussion of Mill's utilitarianism.

Chapter

Cover Rethinking Political Thinkers

31. W.E.B. Du Bois  

Elvira Basevich

This chapter discusses W.E.B. Du Bois’s political thought and strategies for political advocacy which primarily focus on the politics of race, colonialism, gender, and labour. It also explains the key concepts in Du Bois’s criticism of how the white supremacist ideology shaped modern societies to create the colour line and to exclude members of vulnerable groups. These concepts include the doctrine of racialism, double consciousness, and Pan-Africanism. The chapter recognizes Du Bois’s contributions to Black feminist thought and American labour politics, which inspired major social justice movements in the twentieth century. Thus, Du Bois’s political thought shored up the contradictions in the liberal principles of freedom and equality for all.