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Defining Women: Social Institutions and Gender Divisions

ISBN: 978-0-7456-0980-5
336 pages
April 1992, Polity
Defining Women: Social Institutions and Gender Divisions (0745609805) cover image


Defining Women is a major in-depth analysis of the social, economic and political position of women in contemporary societies. It explores the ways in which social institutions, practices and discourse define women and their position in present-day societies.

The book examines the essential debates about the social construction of gender divisions in and by the key institutions of the labour market and the state. Focussing on notions of power, dependence and equality, it addresses questions of the differences between women and men, and between women themselves, in the economy and civil society. Women's political struggles to challenge their subordinate position are also assessed. The recognition of the diverse interests of women currently poses a real challenge to the central project of feminism, but Defining Women confidently argues for it's future.

This book will be widely used as a text book in feminism and women's studies and will have a broad interdisciplinary appeal.

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Table of Contents


Part I: Defining Women:.

Introduction: Women as 'Other'.

1. Defining Public and Private Issues.

Part II: Diversity and Difference:.

Introduction: Recognizing Difference.

2. Personal Experience, Families and Households.

3. Class, Race and Gender.

Part III: On Work:.

4.Defining Work.

5. Gender and Wage Labour.

Part IV:Women and Politics.

6. Women and Citizenship.

7. Women's Struggles: Unity and Diversity.


Source List of Articles.



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Author Information

This book was edited by Linda McDowell, who is Senior Lecturer in Geography at the Open University and Rosemary Pringle, who is Reader in Sociology at Macquarie University, Australia.

The book includes contributions from Aveen Maguire, Beverly Thiele, Linda J. Nicholson, Nancy Mairs, Diana Gittins, Ann Phoenix, Ntozake Shange, Anne Phillips, Floya Anthias, Nira Yuval-Davis, Ray E. Pahl, Ann Oakley, Christine Delphy, Barbara Ehrenreich, Rosemary Pringle, Veronica Beechey, Angela Coyle, Marny Hall, Linda McDowell, Carole Pateman, Joan W. Scott, Ruth Pearson, June Jordan and Caroline Ramazanoglu.

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Defining Women: Social Institutions and Gender Divisions (US $39.95)

-and- Gender and Culture (US $22.95)

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