State - Feminist Theory, Hay.docx

4 Pages

Political Science
Course Code
Political Science 1020E
Bruce Morrison

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FEMINISM, JOHANNA KANTOLA  Difficult relationship between feminist approaches and political science  Second wave focused mainly on movements from civil society  Feminist state theory resulted in deep uneasiness among feminist scholars  Liberal feminist represented the in the state position – critics of liberal feminism argued that they risked co-optation to the state’s patriarchal structures  Radical feminists represented the out of the state position – steered away from the state, develop an extra-statist form of politics  Feminisms main contribution has been to expose the gendered and patriarchal character of state institutions, practices and policies  Advantage and disadvantage of exploitation and control, meaning and identity are patterned through a distinction between male and female, masculine and feminine  Some scholars question the utility of strategies of state reform for feminists and women’s movement activists.  On the other hand feminists are increasingly engaging the state, both theoretically and in practice  Argues that the understanding the pitfalls and benefits of the two tendencies requires being explicit about the notion of the state underpinning our analysis THE NEUTRAL STATE  Feminists have conceptualized the state as a neutral arbiter between different interest groups in a way that comes close to pluralist state theories  Institutions have tended to be dominated by men  More women means more policies for gender equality and address female concerns  Liberal feminists stress the principle of formally equal treatment before the law  Friedan, emphasizing the differences between men and women worked against equality, feminism signified first and foremost advancing and strengthening the formal right of women  Family was a major site of unequal relations and a source of unequal opportunities  Liberal models of justice had to be extended from the sphere ofthe benign state to the sphere of the family THE PATRIARCHAL STATE  Important in changing the dialogue and feminist understandings of politics, state, patriarchy and gender  Patriarchal nature of the formal and informal practices following in decision making  The state is male in the feminist sense: te law sees and treats women they way men see and treat women  Feminists could not expect the state to liberate women because it was impossible to separate state power from male power  Radical feminism employed the concepts of gender and sexuality: sexuality is to feminist what work is to marxism, that which is most one’s own, yet most taken away THE CAPITALIST STATE  The state was not just an institution but a form of social relations  Women’s subordination played a role in sustaining capitalism through the reproduction of the labour force within the family  Marxist feminists argue that women were important in the struggle against capitalism as workers not as women  Stress the importance of understanding capitalist relations when theorizing the state – focused on women’s unpaid labour in the family and added new dimensions to liberal and radical feminist perspectives on the state WOMEN FRIENDLY WELFARE STATE  Femocrat: coined in Australia to analyze feminist workings within state bureaucracies to achieve positive social change  Nordic feminist experience was not one of pervasive patriarchy, analysis highlighted that different states meant different things to women  Nordic – a woman friendly welfare state signified that women’s political and social empowerment happened through the state and with support of state social policy  Women become empowered as political subjects through the institutionalization of gender equality  Women were the objects of policies, tendency was exacerbated by the observation that women’s lives were more dependent and determined by state policy than mens POST STRUCTURAL STATE  Challenged the unity of the state in previous feminist theorizing and argued that the state consisted of a set of arenas that lacked coherence  Differentiated within a set of institut
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