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Essentialism and Anti-Essentialism in Feminist Philosophy.

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Essentialism and Anti-Essentialism in Feminist Philosophy. / Stone, Alison.

In: Journal of Moral Philosophy, Vol. 1, No. 2, 2004, p. 135-153.

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Stone A. Essentialism and Anti-Essentialism in Feminist Philosophy. Journal of Moral Philosophy. 2004;1(2):135-153.

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Stone, Alison. / Essentialism and Anti-Essentialism in Feminist Philosophy. In: Journal of Moral Philosophy. 2004 ; Vol. 1, No. 2. pp. 135-153.

Bibtex

@article{5e54b422b1614d43a1ad4cea19c92022,
title = "Essentialism and Anti-Essentialism in Feminist Philosophy.",
abstract = "This paper revisits the ethical and political questions raised by feminist debates over essentialism. Reviewing these seemingly disparate debates, I identify in them a coherent history of engagement with 'essentialism' understood, in a relatively unified sense, as the belief that there are properties essential to women and which all women share. Feminists' widespread rejection of essentialism posed a well-known problem: it undermined feminist politics by denying women any shared characteristics which might motivate them into collective action. Re-evaluating two responses to this problem - 'strategic' essentialism and Iris Marion Young's idea that women are not a unified group but an internally diverse 'series' - I argue that are both are unsatisfactory, tacitly retaining essentialism as a descriptive claim about the social reality of women's lives. However, building on Young's idea that women should be reconceived as a non-unified sort of social group, I argue for understanding women to have a genealogy. Based on a reading of Nietzsche's concept of genealogy, I suggest that women always acquire femininity by appropriating and reworking existing cultural interpretations of femininity, with the result that all women become situated within a history of overlapping chains of interpretation. Because all women are located within this complex history, they are identifiable as belonging to a determinate social group, even though they do not share any common understanding or experience of femininity. I conclude that the idea that women have a genealogy can allow feminists to reconcile anti-essentialism with commitment to a coalitional politics.",
author = "Alison Stone",
note = "“The final, definitive version of this article has been published in the Journal, Journal of Moral Philosophy, 1 (2), 2004, {\textcopyright} SAGE Publications Ltd, 2004 by SAGE Publications Ltd at the Journal of Moral Philosophy page: http://mpj.sagepub.com/ on SAGE Journals Online: http://online.sagepub.com/",
year = "2004",
language = "English",
volume = "1",
pages = "135--153",
journal = "Journal of Moral Philosophy",
issn = "1740-4681",
publisher = "Brill",
number = "2",

}

RIS

TY - JOUR

T1 - Essentialism and Anti-Essentialism in Feminist Philosophy.

AU - Stone, Alison

N1 - “The final, definitive version of this article has been published in the Journal, Journal of Moral Philosophy, 1 (2), 2004, © SAGE Publications Ltd, 2004 by SAGE Publications Ltd at the Journal of Moral Philosophy page: http://mpj.sagepub.com/ on SAGE Journals Online: http://online.sagepub.com/

PY - 2004

Y1 - 2004

N2 - This paper revisits the ethical and political questions raised by feminist debates over essentialism. Reviewing these seemingly disparate debates, I identify in them a coherent history of engagement with 'essentialism' understood, in a relatively unified sense, as the belief that there are properties essential to women and which all women share. Feminists' widespread rejection of essentialism posed a well-known problem: it undermined feminist politics by denying women any shared characteristics which might motivate them into collective action. Re-evaluating two responses to this problem - 'strategic' essentialism and Iris Marion Young's idea that women are not a unified group but an internally diverse 'series' - I argue that are both are unsatisfactory, tacitly retaining essentialism as a descriptive claim about the social reality of women's lives. However, building on Young's idea that women should be reconceived as a non-unified sort of social group, I argue for understanding women to have a genealogy. Based on a reading of Nietzsche's concept of genealogy, I suggest that women always acquire femininity by appropriating and reworking existing cultural interpretations of femininity, with the result that all women become situated within a history of overlapping chains of interpretation. Because all women are located within this complex history, they are identifiable as belonging to a determinate social group, even though they do not share any common understanding or experience of femininity. I conclude that the idea that women have a genealogy can allow feminists to reconcile anti-essentialism with commitment to a coalitional politics.

AB - This paper revisits the ethical and political questions raised by feminist debates over essentialism. Reviewing these seemingly disparate debates, I identify in them a coherent history of engagement with 'essentialism' understood, in a relatively unified sense, as the belief that there are properties essential to women and which all women share. Feminists' widespread rejection of essentialism posed a well-known problem: it undermined feminist politics by denying women any shared characteristics which might motivate them into collective action. Re-evaluating two responses to this problem - 'strategic' essentialism and Iris Marion Young's idea that women are not a unified group but an internally diverse 'series' - I argue that are both are unsatisfactory, tacitly retaining essentialism as a descriptive claim about the social reality of women's lives. However, building on Young's idea that women should be reconceived as a non-unified sort of social group, I argue for understanding women to have a genealogy. Based on a reading of Nietzsche's concept of genealogy, I suggest that women always acquire femininity by appropriating and reworking existing cultural interpretations of femininity, with the result that all women become situated within a history of overlapping chains of interpretation. Because all women are located within this complex history, they are identifiable as belonging to a determinate social group, even though they do not share any common understanding or experience of femininity. I conclude that the idea that women have a genealogy can allow feminists to reconcile anti-essentialism with commitment to a coalitional politics.

M3 - Journal article

VL - 1

SP - 135

EP - 153

JO - Journal of Moral Philosophy

JF - Journal of Moral Philosophy

SN - 1740-4681

IS - 2

ER -