Chapter

A Culturalist Critique of Trends in Feminist Theory

Ruth H. Bloch

in Gender and Morality in Anglo-American Culture, 1650-1800

Published by University of California Press

Published in print October 2003 | ISBN: 9780520234055
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520936478 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520234055.003.0002
A Culturalist Critique of Trends in Feminist Theory

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This chapter is partly polemical, arguing against Marxism, essentialism, and some varieties of postmodernism. It also suggests an alternative to the materialist explanations of gender that have come to pervade so much of modern feminist thought. The influence of poststructuralism has merely reinforced a tendency among feminist theories to reduce gender to inequalities of wealth and power. A brief survey of the main developments in feminist theory is provided. The analysis of gender as the cultural representation of human interdependency and relationality does not preclude the analysis of it as the representation of power. The elements of a culturalist feminist theory are explained. To save the cultural analysis of gender from being merely a dependent variable of class or race or power, feminist scholars need to look more closely at other kinds of social contexts: at religious beliefs, aesthetic and narrative traditions, scientific and moral thought.

Keywords: culturalist feminist theory; poststructuralism; gender; wealth; power; Marxism; essentialism; postmodernism

Chapter.  8665 words. 

Subjects: History of the Americas

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