Gender and Agency: Reconfiguring the Subject in Feminist and Social Theory

Gender and Agency: Reconfiguring the Subject in Feminist and Social Theory

by Lois McNay
     
 

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This book reassesses theories of agency and gender identity against the backdrop of changing relations between men and women in contemporary societies. McNay argues that recent thought on the formation of the modern subject offers a one-sided or negative account of agency, which underplays the creative dimension present in the responses of individuals to changing… See more details below

Overview

This book reassesses theories of agency and gender identity against the backdrop of changing relations between men and women in contemporary societies. McNay argues that recent thought on the formation of the modern subject offers a one-sided or negative account of agency, which underplays the creative dimension present in the responses of individuals to changing social relations. An understanding of this creative element is central to a theory of autonomous agency, and also to an explanation of the ways in which women and men negotiate changes within gender relations.


In exploring the implications of this idea of agency for a theory of gender identity, McNay brings together the work of leading feminist theorists - such as Judith Butler and Nancy Fraser - with the work of key continental social theorists. In particular, she examines the work of Pierre Bourdieu, Paul Ricoeur and Cornelius Castoriadis, each of whom has explored different aspects of the idea of the creativity of action. McNay argues that their thought has interesting implications for feminist ideas of gender, but these have been relatively neglected partly because of the huge influence of the work of Michel Foucault and Jacques Lacan in this area. She argues that, despite its suggestive nature, feminist theory must move away from the ideas of Foucault and Lacan if a more substantive account of agency is to be introduced into ideas of gender identity.

This book will appeal to students and scholars in the areas of social theory, gender studies and feminist theory.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
'This is a fine piece of theoretical work that deftly negotiatessome complex debates. It is rigorous, scholarly and has somethingsignificant to say.' Feminist Theory

'Complex and elegantly written ... Anyone frustrated by thesimple assertion that identity is like a trap which necessarilyforecloses the prospect of true female agency will find this bookto be a useful contribution to the ways we think about what itmeans to become a female subject in culture.' Canadian Journalof Sociology Online

"McNay's book would benefit very greatly from the use ofexamples, to demonstrate the power of the approach she endorses inrelation to contemporary feminist dilemmas and contentions."European Journal of Social Theory

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780745667874
Publisher:
Wiley
Publication date:
05/29/2013
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
196
File size:
0 MB

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