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Recovering Subversion: Feminist Politics Beyond the Law

 
Nivedita Menon (Author)
Synopsis This book is about the relation between law and feminist politics. The area it traverses ranges from feminist initiatives on sexual harassment to the parity movement in France. Nivedita Menon addresses a particular dilemma for radical politics-in particular, feminist politics-in India. The dilemma has become visible over the last two decades and arises at the interface of radical political practice and the logic of constitutionalism. By 'constitutionalism' she refers to the specific method adopted by modern democracies of safeguarding the autonomy of the individual self. It is now generally recognised, however, that this objective is achieved by enforcing universal norms that marginalise and de-legitimise contesting worldviews and value systems. This particular method of organising democracies has a specific history and arose in a particular location-in Europe in the seventeenth century. By historicising this method, Menon shows us how, four centuries later, we live in a very different world. The dilemma that faces radical politics today is therefore what Menon terms the 'paradox of constitutionalism.' This occurs when various differing moral visions come up against the universalising drive of constitutionality and the language of universal rights. By examining three issues that the women's movement in India has engaged with-the practice of selective abortion of female foetuses, sexual violence, and reservations for women in representative institutions-Menon unfolds a two-pronged argument, namely that (a) the language of rights and citizenship is no longer unproblematically available to an emancipatory politics; and (b) that specifically in the context of feminist politics it has become increasingly difficult to sustain 'woman' as the subject of such a politics, despite (or perhaps because of) the explosion of 'gender' as a category of analysis in official state and NGO discourse. The book concludes by exploring the consequences of this understanding for feminist theory and practice.
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Bibliographic information

Title Recovering Subversion: Feminist Politics Beyond the Law
Format Hardcover
Date published: 01.01.2004
Edition 1st ed.
Publisher Permanent Black
Language: English
isbn 9788178240855
length xiii+271p.