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Caring for Justice

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Overview

Over the past decade, mainstream feminist theory has repeatedly and urgently cautioned against arguments which assert the existence of fundamental—or essential—differences between men and women. Any biological or natural differences between the sexes are often flatly denied, on the grounds that such an acknowledgment will impede women's claims to equal treatment.

In Caring for Justice, Robin West turns her sensitive, measured eye to the consequences of this widespread refusal to consider how women's lived experiences and perspectives may differ from those of men. Her work calls attention to two critical areas in which an inadequate recognition of women's distinctive experiences has failed jurisprudence. We are in desperate need, she contends, both of a theory of justice which incorporates women's distinctive moral voice on the meaning of justice into our discourse, and of a theory of harm which better acknowledges, compensates, and seeks to prevent the various harms which women, disproportionately and distinctively, suffer.

Providing a fresh feminist perspective on traditional jurisprudence, West examines such issues as the nature of justice, the concept of harm, economic theories of value, and the utility of constitutional discourse. She illuminates the adverse repercussions of the anti-essentialist position for jurisprudence, and offers strategies for correcting them. Far from espousing a return to essentialism, West argues an anti- anti-essentialism, which greatly refines our understanding of the similarities and differences between women and men.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Starkly essentialist reasoning sounds almost quaint by today's standards of gender equality. So it is with some surprise that general readers will encounter an intense and carefully reasoned defense of essentialism from the pen of one of America's best-known feminist legal theorists."

-Women's Review of Books,

"By critiquing traditional ideas about 'justice,' including economic theories about value, this provocative feminist jurisprudential scholar advances what she calls an 'ethic of care' and argues that 'if adjudication is to be just, then the goal of good judging must be both justice and care.'"

-Georgia Bar Journal,

Women's Review of Books
Starkly essentialist reasoning sounds almost quaint by today's standards of gender equality. So it is with some surprise that general readers will encounter an intense and carefully reasoned defense of essentialism from the pen of one of America's best-known feminist legal theorists.
Women's Review of Books
Georgia Bar Journal
By critiquing traditional ideas about 'justice', including economic theories about value, this provocative feminist jurisprudential scholar advances what she calls an 'ethic of care' and argues that 'if adjudication is to be just, then the goal of good judging must be both justice and care.'
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780814793497
  • Publisher: New York University Press
  • Publication date: 3/1/1999
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 366
  • Product dimensions: 5.86 (w) x 8.96 (h) x 0.91 (d)

Meet the Author

Hailed by the Michigan Law Review as one of our most creative legal thinkers, Robin West is Professor of Law at Georgetown University Law Center and the author of Progressive Constitutionalism and Narrative, Authority and Law.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction: Losing the Connections 1
Ch. 1 Caring for Justice 22
Ch. 2 The Concept of Harm 94
Ch. 3 Law, Literature, and Feminism 179
Ch. 4 Invisible Victim's: Herman Melville's Bartleby the Scrivener and Susan Glaspell's Jury of Her Peers 218
Ch. 5 Feminism, Postmodernism, and Law 259
Notes 293
Bibliography 325
Index 339
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