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Justice, Gender, And The Family
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Justice, Gender, And The Family

3.83 of 5 stars 3.83  ·  rating details  ·  133 ratings  ·  10 reviews
In the first feminist critique of modern political theory, Okin shows how the failure to apply theories of justice to the family not only undermines our most cherished democratic values but has led to a major crisis over gender-related issues.
Paperback, 224 pages
Published January 30th 1991 by Basic Books (first published 1989)
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Claire Haeg
A deep discursive critique (as well as an analytical framework for a critique) of liberal to communitarian theories of justice from a feminist standpoint. I don't think this is suitable for undergrads, however - they just don't have the background.
In her book Susan Okin wishes to eliminate gender and promote gender neutrality, in an attempt to end gender-based discrimination. She proposes that the most effective discourse would be through education. According to her, sexist education and social norms perpetuate sexism. Okin’s concerns lie mostly in the private sphere; she takes issue with the lack of government consideration for the role of women in the family. She criticizes most political philosophies on the concept of justice for negle ...more
Victor Wu
This is the first full work in the feminist tradition that I've read, and I was impressed. The prose is clean and direct, and the arguments are forcefully made. Okin, starting from largely uncontroversial premises (e.g. moral and political equality of persons), argues that major contemporary theories of justice contain underlying assumptions that effectively exclude or discount women. She claims that when we seriously consider gender and the institution of the family, we see the need for radical ...more
Persuasively argues that the major Anglo-American philosophical theories of justice (Nozick, McIntyre, Walzer, Rawls, etc.) have failed to take gender and the family into account in any meaningful way. (Her criticisms of Nozick and McIntyre in particular seemed fairly devastating.) According to Okin, principles of justice have to be applied to the family because it is a major source of inequality between the sexes and because it's the place where children first learn what it means to be just. I ...more
Great book. Rethinks classic theories of justice through the lens of the reality of gender-unequal societies and, most importantly, family structures. I can't really say it better than Matt Yglesias does in his brief recommendation of the book:

Also, it provides a philosophic basis for equally shared parenting. But it doesn't stop there, it also provides larger policy prescriptions for remedying some of the lingering problems of inequality.

As an undergrad I read this in conjunction with other texts in a class meant to inform the grounding of human rights. This was one of the easier texts to read we read. Okin writes clearly and the book is concise. It would seem necessary for those interested to first read Kymlicka as some of her most salient points are critiquing his views on multiculturalism.
A must read for any political philosopher. I should have read this a long time ago--don't make the same mistake.
Ft. Sheridan
Backhanding everyone with feminist critique.
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