Engendering Democracyby Anne Phillips
Democracy is the central political issue of our age, yet debates over its nature and goals rarely engage with feminist concerns. Now that women have the right to vote, they are thought to present no special problems of their own. But despite the seemingly gender-neutral categories of individual or citizen, democratic theory and practice continues to privilege the… See more details below
Democracy is the central political issue of our age, yet debates over its nature and goals rarely engage with feminist concerns. Now that women have the right to vote, they are thought to present no special problems of their own. But despite the seemingly gender-neutral categories of individual or citizen, democratic theory and practice continues to privilege the male.
This book reconsiders dominant strands in democratic thinking - focusing on liberal democracy, participatory democracy, and twentieth century versions of civic republicanism - and approaches these from a feminist perspective. Anne Phillips explores the under-representation of women in politics, the crucial relationship between public and private spheres, and the lessons of the contemporary women's movement as an experience in participatory democracy.
—Michele Barrett, City University
“This is a jaunty and well-written book. Phillips's contribution to the field of feminist theory lies in elaborating a vision that knowingly negotiates the poles of universal values and sexual differentiation. Phillips aims to acknowledge but not to privilege gender difference. She sees as transitional a world in which gender differences count, and she aspires to a world in which women need not speak as women nor men as men. Her major point that feminists have criticized liberal democracy, participatory democracy, and civic republicanism—all three—rather than pitting each against the other as absolute alternatives is compelling. Phillips audience should reach beyond the ranks of political theorists per se because of her emphasis on comparative political systems and on theories of representation.”
—Jean Bethke Elshtain, Vanderbuilt University
“This is a valuable and unique book. I am aware of no other book that gives sustained treatment to the intersection of feminism with democratic theory. Phillips does an excellent job reviewing and synthesizing the literature on feminism and democracy. Her reference to cases to illustrate her theoretical discussion is particularly useful, but her attention to the claims and arguments of major radical democratic theorists is also exemplary.”
—Iris Marion Young, University of Pittsburgh
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