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Gender and Political Theory: Feminist Reckonings



Gender and Political Theory: Feminist Reckonings

Mary Hawkesworth

ISBN: 978-1-509-52581-2 February 2019 Polity 208 Pages


Western political theory typically incorporates certain assumptions about sex and gender as natural, unvarying and “pre-political.”  This book critically examines these assumptions and shows how recent scholarship undermines the illusion that bodies exist outside politics and beyond the reach of the state.

Leading political theorist Mary Hawkesworth’s cutting-edge intersectional account demonstrates how popular conceptions of human nature, public and private, citizenship, liberty, the state, and injustice relegate women, people of color, sexual minorities, and gender-variant people to inferior status despite constitutional guarantees of equality before the law. Hawkesworth argues that traditional political theory has contributed to the perpetuation of pernicious forms of injustice by masking the state’s role in the creation of subordinated and stigmatized subjects.

The book draws insights from critical race, feminist, postcolonial, queer, and trans* theory to give a compelling, original, and highly readable introduction to historical and contemporary debates on gender and political theory for students.

  • Contents
  • 1. Sexed Bodies: Provocations
  • 2. Conceptualizing Gender
  • 3. Theorizing Embodiment
  • 4. Refiguring the Public and the Private
  • 5. Analyzing the State and the Nation
  • 6. Reconceptualizing Injustice
  • Bibliography

Gender and Political Theory: Feminist Reckonings issues a lucid, learned, and insistently political challenge to canonical accounts of state power and the politics of embodiment. Mary Hawkesworth models a form of feminist argument in which all bodies matter.”
Lawrie Balfour, University of Virginia

“Identifying Western political traditions as saturated with problematic presumptions about sex, gender and sexuality, the author invites us to step back from familiar ideas and see where feminist, queer, postcolonial and trans interventions can take us in rethinking our political ideas about bodies.”
Kathy Ferguson, University of Hawaii