Micro-Politics: Agency in a Postfeminist Era

Overview

Micro-Politics was first published in 1994. Minnesota Archive Editions uses digital technology to make long-unavailable books once again accessible, and are published unaltered from the original University of Minnesota Press editions.

Patricia S. Mann explains our current period as a time of social transformation resulting from an "unmooring" of women, men, and children from the nuclear family, gender relations having replaced economic relations as the primary site of social ...

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Overview

Micro-Politics was first published in 1994. Minnesota Archive Editions uses digital technology to make long-unavailable books once again accessible, and are published unaltered from the original University of Minnesota Press editions.

Patricia S. Mann explains our current period as a time of social transformation resulting from an "unmooring" of women, men, and children from the nuclear family, gender relations having replaced economic relations as the primary site of social tension and change in our lives. The feminist movement has evolved, according to Mann, into a popularly based postfeminist struggle to reconstruct relationships between women and men within everyday contexts of work, family, education, and politics.

Mann formulates a "postmodern" theory of political agency, utilizing it to explain political events such as the Hill-Thomas Senate hearings and their social aftermath. While liberal and progressive theories have explained political agency in terms of individual or group forms of identity, Mann suggests another alternative. Individuals such as Anita Hill are drawn into socially meaningful struggles in the context of their daily lives-as we all are potentially participating in micro-political forms of activism in a variety of institutional contexts. These dynamic micropolitical situations involve intersecting dimensions of race, class, and sexuality, as well as gender. Within specific conflicts, individuals rearticulate their notions of desire and responsibility, and their expectations for recognition and reward; according to Mann political agency resides in these choices. Addressing some of the most important controversies inpolitical philosophy, Mann weaves together strands of the "participatory politics" of the 1960s and the multicultural politics of the 1990s. In doing so, she offers a new basis for understanding social change.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780816620494
  • Publisher: University of Minnesota Press
  • Publication date: 6/1/2009
  • Edition description: Minnesota Archive Editions
  • Pages: 264
  • Product dimensions: 6.09 (w) x 9.05 (h) x 0.63 (d)

Meet the Author

Patricia Mann is an Associate at Cyrus D. Mehta & Associates, a U.S. immigration and nationality law firm in New York City. She has published many articles on contemporary social and political issues.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Introductory Reflections 1
i Origins of This Postmodern, Postfeminist Project 1
ii Why a Theory of Agency? 5
iii Toward a Definition of Agency 9
iv Putting a Theory of Gendered Agency to Work 13
v Historicizing This Theory of Individual Agency 18
vi On the Ultra-Social Status of Postfeminist Theory 23
vii Renegotiating Agency: Seizing the Micro-Political Moment 25
viii Summary Thoughts 31
1 Love and Injustice in Families 33
i Toward a Dynamic Conception of the Private Sphere 34
ii Equality and Rights within Liberal Families? 37
iii Marxism and Material Relations of Power in the Family 42
iv "Women and Children and Slaves," said Plato 44
v Aristotle and Patriarchal Benefactors 52
vi Surd Behavior and Problems of Familial Identity 54
vii Acting beyond Unjust Identities 61
2 Glancing at Pornography: Recognizing Men 62
i The Feminist Debate over Pornography 63
ii An Interactive Model of Sexual Agency 67
iii Freudian Stories, Worldly Mothers, Gendered Disengagement, and Pornography 73
iv Jacques Lacan and Women's Desires for Recognition 78
v Vital Feminist Glances: Painting Ourselves into the Picture 86
3 Cyborgean Motherhood and Abortion 90
i Interpersonal Agency: Rethinking Our Paradigms of Action 91
ii Foundations of the Abortion Controversy 94
iii Traditional Maternal Narratives Compromise Abortion Justifications 100
iv Carol Gilligan: Rethinking Gendered Categories of Moral Agency 105
v A Cyborgean Theory of Procreative Agency 109
vi The Interpersonal Agency of Cyborgean Parents 114
vii Postfeminism and the Waning of a Material Identity 117
4 A Genealogy of Individualism 120
i A Gendered Genealogy 120
ii Reenacting Individualism after a Second Unmooring 124
iii Public Dimensions of Liberal Agency 131
iv The Incorporated Male Family Self 136
v Familial Unmooring: Individuals Reengaging 141
vi Beyond Liberal Notions of Agency 148
5 Agency and Politics in a Postfeminist Decade 156
i Toward An Embodied Micro-Politics 156
ii An Intersectional Analysis of Military Mothers 163
iii When Anita Hill Went to Washington: Passions Are Political 172
iv The Micro-Politics of Sexual Harassment 180
v On Trial: The Patriarchal Grammar of Sexual Desire 189
vi Becoming Civil about Sex 196
vii An Ultra-Social Agency 205
Epilogue: Engaging on a Postfeminist Frontier 208
Notes 213
Index 245
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