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Feminist Theory Today
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Feminist Theory Today
An Introduction to Second-Wave Feminism


August 1995 | 192 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd
This authoritative and lively exploration of the theories of contemporary feminism covers all the major variants of feminist political thought from the "traditional" schools of the women's movement-particularly radical, liberal, and socialist-to today's postmodern texts. Feminist Theory Today examines the epistemological challenge from critical legal theory and postmodernist thought; the divergences within, as well as between, feminist schools; and the protests from women marginalized by the feminist movement, including those who are lesbian and those who are black. It also interrogates the dialectic equality and difference and reconceptualizes this pervasive tenet of feminist thought. Author Judith Evans documents the changes in socialist feminism from its revolutionary origins to its current focus on modifying liberal democratic forms. Students and teachers of women's studies, sociology, and political theory will find this an authoritative and lively exploration of the theories of contemporary feminism. It is also essential reading for anyone seeking to understand why the women's movement is as it is today.

 
Introduction
 
Equality and Difference in Feminist Thought
 
Early Liberalism
Feminism's First Equality

 
 
Essential Tensions? Liberal Feminism's Second Stage
 
Radical Equality
The Early Fire

 
 
Cultural Feminism
Feminism's First Difference

 
 
Woman's Kindness
Cultural Feminism's Second Face

 
 
Socialist Feminism
From Androgyny to Gynocentrism, Equality to Difference

 
 
The Postmodernist Challenge
 
The Legal Challenge
 
Conclusion and Afterthoughts

`Those who are interested in issues of equality, sameness and difference...and who have read the Second Wave literature will appreciate Evans's selective and often thoughtful engagement with that literature' - SIGNS

`In Feminist Theory Today Evans provides an overview of feminist theoretical writings since the 1960s from a perspective which locates these writings in a deate of particular contemporary resonance - the equality/difference axis. The book is characterized by a careful analysis and an engaging, lively style. Full of questions, it is non-didactic and thought-provoking.... A clear framework for overviewing a large and diverse body of literature is produced by placing the texts discussed into distinct schools of thought and evaluating these schools in relation to the concepts of `difference' and `equality'. The claim is that a tension between these concepts runs in various forms through each of the schools outlined - liberal, early radical, strong cultural, weak cultural, socialist and postmodernist. This is as useful a taxonomy as any I have encountered (and drawn slightly more rigorously than most).... The conceptual axis... is a very topical one, the concepts of equality and difference indeed providing the key focus for current debates within feminist theory. Evans' core claim, that there are two types of equality feminism and three types of difference feminism, is clearly highly schematic but nonetheless convincing and helpful for that. The production of this schema is an invaluable achievement which will no doubt aid many to not only access, but alsocritically engage with, what has ecome a huge and amorphous literature. I shall certainly be recommending it to students in future' - Judith Squires, Political Studies

`This review offers only a glimpse of the complexities which Evans addresses in her book. Her writing makes the issues accessible and understandable.... she is addressing particular aspects of the many ways in which feminist theories can be approached and thought about' - Feminism and Psychology

`Provides an extremely thoughtful, perceptive analysis and one which is "honourable" in not avoiding or fudging awkward or difficult points. I found myself in strong agreement with many of its conclusions' - Government and Opposition


Did not feel that it was appropriate to the level

Thelma Lackey
School of Nursing and Midwifery, Brighton University
June 10, 2015

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