Parity of the Sexes

Overview

Sylviane Agacinski has never shied away from controversy. Vilified by some -including many feminists -and celebrated by others as a pioneer of gender equality, she has galvanized the French political scene. Her articulation of the theory of "parity" helped inspire a law that went into effect in May 2000 requiring the country´s political parties to fill 50 percent of the candidacies in every race with women.Sylviane Agacinski, according to The New Yorker, "is sometimes credited with making parité respectable." ...
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Overview

Sylviane Agacinski has never shied away from controversy. Vilified by some -including many feminists -and celebrated by others as a pioneer of gender equality, she has galvanized the French political scene. Her articulation of the theory of "parity" helped inspire a law that went into effect in May 2000 requiring the country´s political parties to fill 50 percent of the candidacies in every race with women.Sylviane Agacinski, according to The New Yorker, "is sometimes credited with making parité respectable." Agacinski begins with the notion that sexual difference should be affirmed rather than denied. Sex, Agacinski points out, is not a social, cultural, or ethnic characteristic -it is a universal human trait. In her argument for the necessary recognition of sexual difference, she enters into today´s most controversial social territory. Agacinski´s model of parity does not strive for the nebulous ideal of "equality" between the sexes; instead, it demands a concrete formula for political contests: an equal number of female and male candidates in every election. It is a theory that has sparked impassioned debate across France: Are female politicians necessarily different from male politicians? Is parity democratic? Is it truly feminist? Agacinski´s sophisticated polemic will stimulate debate on American shores as it has in France. Parity of the Sexes sheds light on one of the crucial spheres of public life in which earlier French feminists left their work unfinished -the realm of political power.
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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
Agacinski, who is not identified, calls for parity, a kind of power sharing, between the sexes in French political decision making. She says the concept constitutes a new approach to sexual difference by giving it a political meaning and a new approach to democracy by entrusting it with the realization of the equality of the sexes, not in a better way but a different one. was published in 1998 by Editions du Seuil, and is here translated by Lisa Walsh. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

Meet the Author

Sylviane Agacinski teaches at the École des Hautes Études in Paris, and has written extensively on philosophy, architecture, and other topics. She is the wife of the current Prime Minister of France, Lionel Jospin. Her books include Aparté: Conceptions and Death of Søren Kierkegaard, translated into English in 1988. In recent years, she has played a pivotal role in the feminist parité movement that has swept France.

Columbia University Press

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Table of Contents

Clarifications: Preface to the English-Language Edition
Preface
Translator's Acknowledgments
Differences 1
Man Divided 3
Versions of Difference 21
Freedom and Fecundity 41
The Masculine Universal 61
Filiations 79
Identity and Homosexuality 81
The Double Origin 99
Aristotle Over/Against Plato 111
Politics 121
War or Politics 123
Archaic and Libertine France 131
Equality 139
Parity 153
Notes 173
Index 185
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