Power and Feminist Agency in Capitalism: Toward a New Theory of the Political Subject

Power and Feminist Agency in Capitalism: Toward a New Theory of the Political Subject

by Claudia Leeb


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Power and Feminist Agency in Capitalism: Toward a New Theory of the Political Subject by Claudia Leeb

According to postmodern scholars, subjects are defined only through their relationship to institutions and social norms. But if we are only political people insofar as we are subjects of existing power relations, there is little hope of political transformation. To instigate change, we need to draw on collective power, but appealing to a particular type of subject, whether "working class," "black," or "women," will always be exclusionary. This issue is a particular problem for feminist scholars, who are frequently criticized for assuming that they can make broad claims for all women, while failing to acknowledge their own exclusive and powerful position (mostly white, Western, and bourgeois). Recent work in political and feminist thought has suggested that we can get around these paradoxes by wishing away the idea of political subjects entirely or else thinking of political identities as constantly shifting. In this book, Claudia Leeb argues that these are both failed ideas. She instead suggests a novel idea of a subject in outline. Over the course of the book Leeb grounds this concept in work by Adorno, Lacan, and Marx - the very theorists who are often seen as denying the agency of the subject. Leeb also proposes that power structures that create political subjects are never all-powerful. While she rejects the idea of political autonomy, she shows that there is always a moment in which subjects can contest the power relations that define them.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780190639891
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Publication date: 05/01/2017
Pages: 240
Product dimensions: 6.20(w) x 9.40(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Claudia Leeb is Assistant Professor in the School of Politics, Philosophy, and Public Affairs at Washington State University, as well as Research Affiliate at the Center for European Studies, Harvard University.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction
Part I: The Subject-in-Outline
2. The When of Socio-Political Transformation: The Moment of the Limit
3. Who Changes the World: The Political Subject in Outline
4. How to Transform the World: Rethinking Theory and Practice
5. What makes us Rebel: Suffering Reconsidered
Part II: Applications
6. Rejecting the Politics of (Mis-)Recognition: Butler Revisited
7. The Working-Class Woman and Marx: Biased Constructions
8. Disrupting the Fantasy: Adorno and the Working-Class Woman
9. Conclusion

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