Practising Feminism: Identity, Difference, Power

Practising Feminism: Identity, Difference, Power

Practising Feminism: Identity, Difference, Power

Practising Feminism: Identity, Difference, Power

Synopsis

In Practising Feminisms contributors drawn from a range of backgrounds in anthropology, sociology and social psychology, explore different ways of practising feminism and their effect on gendered identities. The contributors examine feminism and gender differences between different countries, various feminist practices, the call for the recognition of heterosexuality as a politicised identity and the practical role of feminism in nationalist struggles and finally methodological implications of feminist practices. They show women to be different, and that different structural influences come into play to make them different. But women are not so different that a feminist politics or understanding is invalid. Practising Feminisms is an important contribution to the neglected middle ground between post-modern deconstructions of difference and identity, and continued feminist concern with grounded power relations and the validity of experience.

Excerpt

Nickie Charles

Over the past twenty years the ways in which gender and gender divisions are theorised have undergone substantial changes. Earlier assumptions of a shared oppression uniting women have given way to a recognition of difference and diversity, while the notions of human subjectivity and progress on which the political project of feminism is allegedly premised have been challenged. This book explores some of the issues raised by these changes and challenges. It is multi-disciplinary, drawing on sociology, social anthropology and social psychology. As a result it represents a diversity of approaches to practising feminism and illuminates the way in which feminist practice crosses disciplinary boundaries.

The first chapter provides a theoretical and political context for those which follow. It outlines the debates that have taken place within feminism since the emergence of women’s liberation movements in the late 1960s and early 1970s and discussses the way in which changing conceptualisations of gender relate both to feminist politics and to theoretical developments. A central concern is the relationship between theory and practice and a conviction that feminist political practice and academic feminism should be (but often seem not to be) related. This concern and conviction is shared by other feminist academics (Kelly et al., 1994; McNeil, 1993) although the relationship is not assumed to be unproblematic (Strathern, 1987). I focus initially on second-wave feminism as a political movement and the theoretical developments associated with it. I then discuss the challenge to feminism posed by post-structuralism and postmodernism and the way in which feminists have responded to this. Finally, I discuss the different ways of practising feminism that are represented in this book. Throughout I refer to the individual chapters, drawing upon the issues and . . .

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