Chapter

Feminism: The Recasting of Political Language

Michael Freeden

in Ideologies and Political Theory

Published in print April 1998 | ISBN: 9780198294146
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191599323 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/019829414X.003.0014
 Feminism: The Recasting of Political Language

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The latter part of the twentieth century has seen the emergence of a number of groupings of political thought that attempt to escape from the morphological and interpretative constraints of the older established ideologies. One way of effecting this has been through the processes of redefining the domain of the political, reconceptualizing the ideational elements of the contending ideologies, renaming the components of political vocabulary, and revalorizing marginal political concepts. Another has been through decreased internal integration in comparison to existing ideological families, the outcome being the formation of thin‐centred assimilative ideologies, which then either challenge the relevance of additional ideological baggage, or thicken by ingesting the patterns of other ideologies. This chapter and the next examine two of the more prominent exemplars, and illustrate a potentially deep divide among analysts: are these ideologies extensive but eclectic or unique but truncated? Here, feminism is examined; the eight sections of the chapter are: (a) The feminist core: between critique and prescription; (b) Gender and power; (c) The political domain; (d) Paradigms lost and regained; (e) Postmodernism: an alliance of convenience?; (f) Equality and the feminist traditions; (g) An ideological reading of ideologies; and (h) The role of the concrete.

Keywords: equality; feminism; gender; ideological analysis; ideology; political concepts; political language; political thought; postmodernism; power

Chapter.  15246 words. 

Subjects: Political Theory

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