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The Contract and Domination



The Contract and Domination

Carole Pateman, Charles Mills

ISBN: 978-0-745-63621-4 April 2013 Polity 320 Pages

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Contract and Domination offers a bold challenge to contemporary contract theory, arguing that it should either be fundamentally rethought or abandoned altogether. Since the publication of John Rawls's A Theory of Justice, contract theory has once again become central to the Western political tradition. But gender justice is neglected and racial justice almost completely ignored.

Carole Pateman and Charles Mills's earlier books, The Sexual Contract (1988) and The Racial Contract (1997), offered devastating critiques of gender and racial domination and the contemporary contract tradition's silence on them. Both books have become classics of revisionist radical democratic political theory. Now Pateman and Mills are collaborating for the first time in an interdisciplinary volume, drawing on their insights from political science and philosophy. They are building on but going beyond their earlier work to bring the sexual and racial contracts together.

In Contract and Domination, Pateman and Mills discuss their differences about contract theory and whether it has a useful future, excavate the (white) settler contract that created new civil societies in North America and Australia, argue via a non-ideal contract for reparations to black Americans, confront the evasions of contemporary contract theorists, explore the intersections of gender and race and the global sexual-racial contract, and reply to their critics.

This iconoclastic book throws the gauntlet down to mainstream white male contract theory. It is vital reading for anyone with an interest in political theory and political philosophy, and the systems of male and racial domination.

Acknowledgments vi

Introduction 1
Carole Pateman and Charles W. Mills

1 Contract and Social Change 10
A Dialogue between Carole Pateman and Charles W. Mills

2 The Settler Contract 35
Carole Pateman

3 The Domination Contract 79
Charles W. Mills

4 Contract of Breach: Repairing the Racial Contract 106
Charles W. Mills

5 Race, Sex, and Indifference 134
Carole Pateman

6 Intersecting Contracts 165
Charles W. Mills

7 On Critics and Contract 200
Carole Pateman

8 Reply to Critics 230
Charles W. Mills

References 267

Index 296

"An extraordinarily helpful and enlightening work for both non-contract and contract theorists alike, and for everyone concerned with racial, gender and class inequality."
Political Studies Review

"Charles Mills and Carole Pateman are two exemplary philosophers of freedom. This book is a grand contribution to our understanding of justice. Don't miss it!"
Cornel West, Princeton University

"A provocative book that hopefully will generate intense debate and discussion."
Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society

"Engaging and often thought-provoking ... [Contract and Domination] raises good questions and portends more research into the continued viability of contracts as a basis for thinking about law."
Law and Politics Book Review

"This is the most sustained intersectional analysis of race and gender to date, providing a theoretical account of how these categories connect, overlap, mediate one another, and comparatively structure oppression. It is also a debate in political philosophy over the utility of the contract model for conceptualizing a more just society. The disagreements between the authors will make this book especially fruitful for classroom use."
Lind Martin Alcoff, Syracuse University

  • One-off opportunity to explore the work of these two theorists in greater depth
  • Takes the authors’ respective arguments about contract theory a stage further by examining the intersection between race and gender
  • Answers questions raised by various critics and debates the authors’ differences about contract theory and its future
  • Indispensable reading for students and scholars of critical and political theory