The Return of Feminist Liberalism
Jacket image for The Return of Feminist Liberalism
View larger image
Author(s): Ruth Abbey  
ISBN: 184465270X
ISBN-13: 9781844652709
Publication Date: 26 May 2011
Pages: 336 (234 x 156mm)
Format: Paperback
Published Price: £18.99
Discount Price: £15.19
Add to basket
While it is uncontroversial to point to the liberal roots of feminism, a central issue in feminist political theory over the last few decades has been whether feminism’s association with liberalism should be relegated to the past. Can liberalism continue to serve feminist purposes as the most practical vehicle for gaining the reforms needed for women to lead fuller and freer lives, or are feminism’s aspirations incompatible with the underlying premises of liberal theory?

This book explores the troubled relationship between feminist theory and liberal political theory by examining the work of three contemporary feminists – Martha Nussbaum, Susan Moller Okin and Jean Hampton – who, notwithstanding decades of feminist critique, are unwilling to give up on liberalism. Ruth Abbey examines why, and in what ways, each of these theorists believe that liberalism offers the normative and political resources for the improvement of women’s situations. The book investigates and evaluates the differences among them, notwithstanding their shared allegiance to liberalism, and in doing so, the book explores issues at the heart of recent debates in feminist and political theory, including the sexual contract, public/domestic separation, structures of power, intersectionality, care and dependency.

Evenhanded and measured throughout, The Return of Feminist Liberalism offers new insights into the tension between feminism and Rawlsian liberalism and will be welcomed by a wide range of readers in political theory, political philosophy, gender studies and feminist theory.

"A meticulously researched, thoughtful, and clearly written discussion of crucial developments in feminist liberal theory over the past fifty years. A tremendously valuable contribution to feminist theory.” – Molly Lyndon Shanley, Vassar College

"It is likely to become the go-to resource for scholars and students interested in liberal feminism, or feminist liberalism." – Amy Baehr, Hofstra University, New York

"A very useful and scholarly work that engages with one of the continuing and most important debates in contemporary feminist theory." – Anne Phillips, London School of Economics

Ruth Abbey is Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Notre Dame. She is also the author of Charles Taylor (Acumen, 2000).

Introduction: The Return of Feminist Liberalism
1. The Feminist Critique of Liberalism
PART I  The Feminist Liberalism of Susan Moller Okin
2. Injustices, Gender, Families
3. Defining Okin’s Liberalism
4. He Said, She Said: The Rawls/Okin Debate
5. When Liberal Meanings are not Shared
6. Going Global
PART II  The Feminist Liberalism of Jean Hampton
7. Contracting for Feminism
8. Kantian Feminism
PART III  The Feminist Liberalism of Martha Nussbaum
9. An Original Position
10. What Women Want
11. Capabilities for Care
PART IV  Contemporary Feminist Liberalism
12. In the Company of Critics
13. Persuasive Universalism and Political Liberalism
14. Transformative Liberalisms

Also available in Hardback (1844652696), priced 55.00

Click here to buy the hardback edition