Women in Western Political Thought (New Paperback)

Overview

In this pathbreaking study of the works of Plato, Aristotle, Rousseau, and Mill, Susan Moller Okin turns to the tradition of political philosophy that pervades Western culture and its institutions to understand why the gap between formal and real gender equality persists. Our philosophical heritage, Okin argues, largely rests on the assumption of the natural inequality of the sexes. Women cannot be included as equals within political theory unless its deep-rooted assumptions about the traditional family, its sex ...

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Women in Western Political Thought

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Overview

In this pathbreaking study of the works of Plato, Aristotle, Rousseau, and Mill, Susan Moller Okin turns to the tradition of political philosophy that pervades Western culture and its institutions to understand why the gap between formal and real gender equality persists. Our philosophical heritage, Okin argues, largely rests on the assumption of the natural inequality of the sexes. Women cannot be included as equals within political theory unless its deep-rooted assumptions about the traditional family, its sex roles, and its relation to the wider world of political society are challenged. So long as this attitude pervades our institutions and behavior, the formal equality women have won has no chance of becoming substantive.

This is a survey and a critique of political theory and the role of women in it.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Okin has written an engaging, serious, careful, and important work that raises the issues of women and politics in their most elemental and pertinent form. . . . A pioneering book."—Benjamin R. Barber, New Republic

"A brilliant, clear, sustained drive through the murky history of men's ideas about what they wished women to do into the terra incognita of what women can be. . . . [A] major contribution to political thought."—Christina Robb, Boston Globe

"Excellent. . . . Given the generations of scholars who have ignored the obvious, Okin's contribution is tantamount to the child declaring the emperor to be without clothes. Her language is calm, clear, simple, and strong."—Vivian Gornick, Washington Post

"Okin's impressive book makes clear that whatever we may have been taught, we cannot read the great political theorists as though 'mankind' means all of us."—Nannerl Keohane, Ethics

Washington Post
Excellent. . . . Given the generations of scholars who have ignored the obvious, Okin's contribution is tantamount to the child declaring the emperor to be without clothes. Her language is calm, clear, simple, and strong.
— Vivian Gornick
Ethics
Okin's impressive book makes clear that whatever we may have been taught, we cannot read the great political theorists as though 'mankind' means all of us.
— Nannerl Keohane
New Republic
Okin has written an engaging, serious, careful, and important work that raises the issues of women and politics in their most elemental and pertinent form. . . . A pioneering book.
— Benjamin R. Barber
Boston Globe
A brilliant, clear, sustained drive through the murky history of men's ideas about what they wished women to do into the terra incognita of what women can be. . . . [A] major contribution to political thought.
— Christina Robb
New Republic - Benjamin R. Barber
Okin has written an engaging, serious, careful, and important work that raises the issues of women and politics in their most elemental and pertinent form. . . . A pioneering book.
Washington Post - Vivian Gornick
Excellent. . . . Given the generations of scholars who have ignored the obvious, Okin's contribution is tantamount to the child declaring the emperor to be without clothes. Her language is calm, clear, simple, and strong.
Boston Globe - Christina Robb
A brilliant, clear, sustained drive through the murky history of men's ideas about what they wished women to do into the terra incognita of what women can be. . . . [A] major contribution to political thought.
Ethics - Nannerl Keohane
Okin's impressive book makes clear that whatever we may have been taught, we cannot read the great political theorists as though 'mankind' means all of us.
The New Republic
Okin has written an engaging, serious, careful, and important work that raises the issues of women and politics in their most elemental and pertinent form. . . . A pioneering book.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780691158341
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press
  • Publication date: 4/21/2013
  • Edition description: Reissue
  • Pages: 432
  • Sales rank: 828,282
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Susan Moller Okin (1946-2004) was a prominent feminist philosopher and the Marta Sutton Weeks Professor of Ethics in Society at Stanford University. Her books include "Justice, Gender, and the Family" and "Is Multiculturalism Bad for Women?"

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Table of Contents

Introduction to the 2013 Edition ix
Acknowledgements xix
Introduction 3
PART I. PLATO
1. Plato and the Greek Tradition of Misogyny 15
2. Philosopher Queens and Private Wives 28
3. Female Nature and Social Structure 51
PART II. ARISTOTLE
4. Woman's Place and Nature in a Functionalist World 73
PART III. ROUSSEAU
5. Rosseau and the Modern Patriarchal Tradition 99
6. The Natural Woman and Her Role 106
7. Equality and Freedom - for Men 140
8. The Fate of Rosseau's Heroines 167
PART IV. MILL
9. John Stuart Mill, Liberal Feminist 197
PART V. FUNCTIONALISM, FEMINISM AND THE FAMILY
10. Women and Functionalism, Past and Present 233
11. Persons, Women, and the Law 247
12. Conclusions 274
Appendix to Chapter 2 305
Afterword to the 1992 edition 309
Notes 341
Bibliography 387
Index 399

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