Toward a Feminist Theory of the State

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Toward a Feminist Theory of the State presents Catharine MacKinnon's powerful analysis of politics, sexuality, and the law from the perspective of women. Using the debate over Marxism and feminism as a point of departure, MacKinnon develops a theory of gender centered on sexual subordination and applies it to the state. The result is an informed and compelling critique of inequality and a transformative vision of a direction for social change.
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Editorial Reviews

Canadian Bar Review
The single most important book in the new jurisprudence...It is, in my opinion, the only book in legal theory produced in the twentieth century which can rank with H. L. A. Hart's The Concept of Law (1961). Both change the framework arid transform the paradigm of the theoretical debate. All discourse within the framework of liberal legal theory has had to place itself in relationship to the ideas and theories of Hart. All feminist legal theory, likewise, must place itself in reference to the writings of MacKinnon. Her work, however, is much more significant than that of Hart, because her perspective has the potential of social revolution.
Toronto Globe and Mail

[MacKinnon] convincingly links sexuality and violence. But what I value in this book is the leap of faith to a search for practical remedies for women's situation.
— Naomi Black

Gloria Steinem
Looking at the female and male halves of the world equally transforms everything--and Toward a Feminist Theory of the State makes that clear with scholarship, courage, and wit. By exposing and correcting the patriarchal values underlying nationalism and justice, Catharine MacKinnon causes an earthquake of thinking that rearranges every part of our intellectual landscape. This book is a "must read."
Toronto Globe and Mail - Naomi Black
[MacKinnon] convincingly links sexuality and violence. But what I value in this book is the leap of faith to a search for practical remedies for women's situation.
Library Journal
A theoretical legal treatise from activist attorney MacKinnon ( Sexual Harrassment of Working Women, LJ 6/1/79; Feminism Unmodified, LJ 5/15/87), co-author of the controversial Dworkin-MacKinnon anti-pornography civil rights ordinance. She begins with a discussion of feminism and Marxism, because (as she explains) the latter is the only contemporary political tradition to confront organized social dominance as a dynamic. She goes on to analyze feminist method (consciousness-raising) and the knowledge it reveals; and what she calls feminism unmodified (radical feminism) as a post-Marxist methodology. She explores issues of sexuality/gender and how they contribute to women's oppression and the role of the liberal state in promoting it. Revealing, closely reasoned, densely written, this is not easy reading, but sure to be hotly debated among academicians and intellectuals. For university libraries.-- Beverly Miller, Boise State Univ. Lib., Id.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780674896468
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press
  • Publication date: 9/28/1991
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 350
  • Sales rank: 1,440,642
  • Product dimensions: 6.16 (w) x 9.21 (h) x 0.91 (d)

Meet the Author

Catharine A. MacKinnon is Elizabeth A. Long Professor of Law at the University of Michigan Law School.
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Table of Contents


Part One: Feminism and Marxism

1. The Problem of Marxism and Feminism

2. A Feminist Critique of Marx and Engels

3. A Marxist Critique of Feminism

4. Attempts at Synthesis

Part Two: Method

5. Consciousness Raising

6. Method and Politics

7. Sexuality

Part Three: The State

8. The Liberal State

9. Rape: On Coercion and Consent

10. Abortion: On Public and Private

11. Pornography: On Morality and Politics

12. Sex Equality: On Difference and Dominance

13. Toward Feminist Jurisprudence




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