Close to Home: A Materialist Analysis of Women's Oppression

By Christine Delphy; Diana Leonard | Go to book overview

Preface

This collection contains papers published between 1970 and 1981 by Christine Delphy, a leading activist in the French women's liberation movement, who has been described by Simone de Beauvoir as France's most exciting feminist theorist.

Christine Delphy's work has only slowly become available in English. An article of hers, "The main enemy", formed part of the first major publication from the women's movement in France in 19701*, and it was translated and sold in mimeoed form at the 1974 Women's Liberation Conference in Edinburgh. It was then reissued, together with two other articles, in a pamphlet from the Women's Research and Resources Centre in London in 1977. A few other translations of her work have been scattered through a variety of academic collections and journals in subsequent years, including the American journal Feminist Issues.2 When the WRRC Publications group went into collaboration with Hutchinson Education, we decided, rather than reissuing The Main Enemy, to produce a new and larger collection of Delphy's papers so as to give English and non-academic readers a better appreciation of the development and importance of her work.

'The main enemy' contains the core of one strand of Christine Delphy's work: a theoretical analysis of the feminist 'discovery' of housework as unpaid work within the family, central to an understanding of women's oppression today. Delphy's conceptions of the domestic mode of production, of marriage as a labour contract, and of the economic importance of marriage to women have been developed with increasing sophistication in her work on the ways in which divorce constitutes a continuation of marriage in a different form, on the class

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Superior figures refer to the Notes and references at the end of each chapter.

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