Beyond Economic Man: Feminist Theory and Economics / Edition 1

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Overview

This is the first book to examine the central tenets of economics from a feminist point of view. In these original essays, the authors suggest that the discipline of economics could be improved by freeing itself from masculine biases.

Beyond Economic Man raises questions about the discipline not because economics is too objective but because it is not objective enough. The contributors--nine economists, a sociologist, and a philosopher--discuss the extent to which gender has influenced both the range of subjects economists have studied and the way in which scholars have conducted their studies. They investigate, for example, how masculine concerns underlie economists' concentration on market as opposed to household activities and their emphasis on individual choice to the exclusion of social constraints on choice. This focus on masculine interests, the contributors contend, has biased the definition and boundaries of the discipline, its central assumptions, and its preferred rhetoric and methods. However, the aim of this book is not to reject current economic practices, but to broaden them, permitting a fuller understanding of economic phenomena.

These essays examine current economic practices in the light of a feminist understanding of gender differences as socially constructed rather than based on essential male and female characteristics. The authors use this concept of gender, along with feminist readings of rhetoric and the history of science, as well as postmodernist theory and personal experience as economists, to analyze the boundaries, assumptions, and methods of neoclassical, socialist, and institutionalist economics.

The contributors are Rebecca M. Blank, Paula England, Marianne A. Ferber, Nancy Folbre, Ann L. Jennings, Helen E. Longino, Donald N. McCloskey, Julie A. Nelson, Robert M. Solow, Diana Strassmann, and Rhonda M. Williams.

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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
In seven essays and four discussions, economists seek to improve economic analysis by ridding the discipline of the biases due to the centrality of distinctively masculine concerns. Among the topics are the difference between studying choice and provisioning, the rhetoric of disciplinary authority, and conjective economics. Paper edition (unseen), $12.95. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780226242019
  • Publisher: University of Chicago Press
  • Publication date: 6/28/1993
  • Edition description: 1
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 178
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Julie A. Nelson is Professor of Economics and Department Chair at the University of Massachusetts Boston and a Senior Research Fellow at the Global Development and Environment Institute of Tufts University and the author of Economics for Humans.

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Table of Contents

Preface
Introduction: The Social Construction of Economics and the Social Construction of Gender 1
1 The Study of Choice or the Study of Provisioning? Gender and the Definition of Economics 23
2 The Separative Self: Androcentric Bias in Neoclassical Assumptions 37
3 Not a Free Market: The Rhetoric of Disciplinary Authority in Economics 54
4 Some Consequences of a Conjective Economics 69
5 Socialism, Feminist and Scientific 94
6 Public or Private? Institutional Economics and Feminism 111
7 Discussion and Challenges 131
What Should Mainstream Economists Learn from Feminist Theory? 133
Race, Deconstruction, and the Emergent Agenda of Feminist Economic Theory 144
Feminist Theory, Women's Experience, and Economics 153
Economics for Whom? 158
Contributors 169
Index 173
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