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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 An Introduction to Political Philosophy

Introduction  

This text explores the main questions of political philosophy and looks at some of the most influential answers, from the ancient Greeks to the present day. Each chapter takes on a particular question or controversy. The natural starting-point is political power, the right to command. The first chapter considers the question of what would happen in a ‘state of nature’ without government, while the second tackles the problem of political obligation. The third chapter is concerned with democracy, asking whether a state should be democratic, for example, or whether there is any rationale for preferring rule by the people to rule by an expert. The next two chapters deal with liberty and property. The text concludes by focusing on questions that have drawn greater attention in more recent decades, such as issues of gender, race, disability, sexual orientation, immigration, global justice, and justice to future generations.

Chapter

Cover An Introduction to Political Philosophy

Introduction  

This text explores the main questions of political philosophy and looks at some of the most influential answers, from the ancient Greeks to the present day. Each chapter takes on a particular question or controversy. The natural starting point is political power, the right to command. The first chapter considers the question of what would happen in a ‘state of nature’ without government, while the second tackles the problem of political obligation. The third chapter is concerned with democracy, asking whether a state should be democratic, for example, or whether there is any rationale for preferring rule by the people to rule by an expert. The next two chapters deal with liberty and property. The text concludes by focusing on questions that have drawn greater attention in more recent decades, such as issues of gender, race, disability, sexual orientation, immigration, global justice, and justice to future generations.

Chapter

Cover An Introduction to Political Philosophy

6. Justice for Everyone, Everywhere?  

This chapter examines some issues that have come to greater attention in more recent decades, with particular emphasis on what it calls ‘oversights’ of justice. It begins by arguing that some of the greatest political philosophers had suffered from ‘oversights’, notably Karl Marx, Mary Wollstonecraft, and John Stuart Mill. It then considers some of these oversights of justice, first by looking at issues of gender equality, then at racial justice, followed by issues of disability and sexual orientation, each from the standpoint of what is known as ‘domestic justice’: justice as it operates within a single state. It also explores questions of global justice, including immigration, and global inequalities of wealth, along with justice to future generations, especially in relation to climate change. These discussions reflect areas of great contemporary concern, both in political philosophy and in real life.

Chapter

Cover An Introduction to Political Philosophy

6. Justice for Everyone, Everywhere?  

This chapter examines some issues that have come to greater attention in more recent decades, with particular emphasis on what it calls ‘oversights’ of justice. It begins by arguing that some of the greatest political philosophers suffered from ‘oversights’, notably Karl Marx, Mary Wollstonecraft, and John Stuart Mill. It then considers some of these oversights of justice, first by looking at issues of gender equality, then at racial justice, followed by issues of disability and sexual orientation, each from the standpoint of what is known as ‘domestic justice’: justice as it operates within a single state. It also explores questions of global justice, including immigration, and global inequalities of wealth, along with justice to future generations, especially in relation to climate change. These discussions reflect areas of great contemporary concern, both in political philosophy and in real life.