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(en) Anarkismo.net, Back to a materialist feminism by Irene - Libertarian Alternative (fr) [machine translation]

Date Tue, 19 Jun 2012 16:46:20 +0300


From the latest book by Roland Pfefferkorn, "Gender and gender relations", we propose a way to read and understand the multiple dimensions of persistent inequalities between men and women. ---- In "Gender and gender relations," Roland Pfefferkorn is an introduction to the concepts used to address social inequalities men / women. In particular, his approach emphasizes the contribution from the work of materialist feminism. This leads him to highlight the ambiguities of the notion of gender and to show the theoretical advantages of the analysis in terms of gender relations. In the introduction, the author puts into perspective the history of sociology in recalling that it was not until the 1970s, by the work of women activists and feminist scholars, this discipline is bound to take into account the social fact of inequality man / woman.

Back to a materialist feminism

In "Gender and gender relations," Roland Pfefferkorn is an introduction to the concepts used to address social inequalities men / women. In particular, his approach emphasizes the contribution from the work of materialist feminism. This leads him to highlight the ambiguities of the notion of gender and to show the theoretical advantages of the analysis in terms of gender relations. In the introduction, the author puts into perspective the history of sociology in recalling that it was not until the 1970s, by the work of women activists and feminist scholars, this discipline is bound to take into account the social fact of inequality man / woman.

Break with the naturalism

In the first chapter, entitled "Breaking the naturalism ', the author is led to emphasize that the break is the materialist feminist approach compared to previous outlook, before the 1970s, turned to the concepts of social roles. As part of a continuity with the Second Sex by Simone de Beauvoir, the theories of Christine Delphy, inspired by an unorthodox use of Marx, here are fundamental. The author recalls how the concepts were built of "patriarchy", the "domestic mode of production" of "domestic work" as autonomous categories of capitalism. However, they face certain limits according to him: "By underestimating, in our view, the real changes that have occurred, even though they are very partial and sometimes difficult to interpret, neglecting the increase in margins empowerment of women in recent decades, Christine Delphy is forbidden to take into account the historicity and the dynamics of domestic mode of production, it registers its conceptualization in a fundamentally creationist "(p. 38). It ' is that the approaches in terms of sexual division of labor and the concept of gender relations that some paradoxes are resolved. They thus allow the exploitation of women think, more and more numerous on the labor market together in the domestic and productive.

The gender concept

The second chapter is devoted to the study of the notion of genre in which the author highlights the ambivalences that have led to the widespread success of this term. It is possible to note, for example, among the analyzes it conducts, the contrast between two kinds of theories. This notion seems to be initially confused with that of gender. The author recalls in this respect the theories of Colette Guillaumin on the construction of the "sex class of women" by the sexing, that is to say, "private and collective ownership" of women. It has shown how the notion of genre, as used in queer theory, leads to reduce the contrast between feminine and masculine in its normative dimensions and issues of sexual identities. Thus it is leads, in the third chapter of his book, Critical analysis of the concept. There are basically three. Firstly, through culturalist and ultimately idealistic notion in postmodern theories, such as queer theory, leads to neglect the material basis of economic construction of gender. The second criticism is that naturalization is done under cover of the distinction between sex and gender as social construction. Last dimension, the thesis of the plurality of postmodern genre dissolves the social relationship class which nevertheless is clear at a macro-sociological.

Centrality of work

The last chapter is thus devoted specifically to the notions of "sexual division of labor" and "gender relations". The author points out, drawing Daniele Kergoat, that the notion of social relationship means "a voltage across the social field and makes certain social phenomena are issues around which social groups with conflicting interests" (p. 96). This concept highlights the antagonistic character of society, and thus the centrality of the concept of work. The gender relations are constructed from the sexual division of labor, but also the control of sexuality and reproductive function of women. In addition, Danièle Kergoat showed how the social relations of gender, 'race' and class should be analyzed in their consubstantiality and coextensivity with each other. Ultimately, the analyzes focus on social conflict in terms of relations of gender, compared to that of 'male domination', can think better articulation between the reproduction of relations of domination and transformation of these relations through collective struggles for emancipation. In conclusion, the author returns on the distinction between articulation of social relations and theories of intersectionality. The latter, from the U.S. intellectual context, have the effect of granting, as queer theories, an important place to the cultural and identity.

A radical current forgot

By focusing on theories from the materialist feminism, the book by Roland Pfefferkorn has the merit to highlight everything a radical trend analysis of inequalities men / women, hidden in the 1980s by the differentialism french feminism then in the 1990s by the reception of queer theories and analysis in terms of Bourdieu male domination. Yet in the wake of the analyzes of patriarchy by American feminist Kate Millett, author of The Politics of the male in 1970, the work of theorists such as Christine Delphy, Nicole-Claude Mathieu, Colette Guillaumin, Wittig, or Danièle Kergoat present specificity to support their criticism of social inequality between men and women on an economic basis, but not reduced. In particular, the notion of "gender", these theorists have shown before how queer theories sexual identities were merely social constructs. They have thus initiated a critique of heteronormativity that is not reducible to a simple critical standards, but which finds its basis in an analysis of socio-economic conditions of sexual categories. So, do we forget often that it's not only the side of Foucault, but also to Monique Wittig, Judith Butler was seeking inspiration for his theory of deconstruction of the genre. Irene AL Paris Nord- is Libertarian Alternative, June 2012, No. 218
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