Manual Trajectories of mysticism in theory and literature

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But the Lutheran renunciation of the Calvinist emphasis upon good works, and the secularizing tendency implicit in the naturalistic legal and political philosophies of the 16th and 17th century discussed in relation to Carl Schmitt's theory of sovereignty resulted in the stripping bare of human value and significance from such history.

This tense, antinomical combination of transcendence and immanence produces an uneasy hybrid, in which history—as a narrative of the human march towards redemption on the Day of Judgement—loses the eschatological certainty of its redemptive conclusion, and becomes secularized into a mere natural setting for the profane struggle over political power. These texts have provoked a number of responses in the context of political theology, most notably from Carl Schmitt, Jacques Derrida and Giorgio Agamben.

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Schmitt responded directly to Benjamin's essay in Hamlet or Hecuba These complex relations between Benjamin, Schmitt, and Derrida have become the subject of a number of recent studies, including Agamben's State of Exception Bredekamp , —; Liska , although more careful studies have emphasized the clear divergences between Benjamin's position and those of Derrida and of Schmitt Tomba , —; Averlar , 79—; Weber , — In this respect, it was not Schmitt's political theology but the reactionary vitalism of Ludwig Klages that proved a more influential and enduring object of fascination for Benjamin Fuld ; McCole , —, —; Wolin , xxxi—xxxviii; Wohlfarth , 65—; Lebovic , 1—10, 79— In the second part of his thesis, Benjamin employs the concept of allegory to expose the implicit eschatological structure of these works.

However, the first part utilises the distorting tension of this structure to distinguish the specific and historically conspicuous technique of the German baroque mourning-play. This concludes by identifying sorrow or mourning Trauer as the predominant mood inherent to its metaphysical structure, in contrast to the suffering of tragedy.

To grasp how the form of these works are determined by their truth content requires a reconstruction of the baroque concept of the allegorical which structures its mood of melancholic contemplativeness. Benjamin's claim is that a genuine understanding of the allegorical as it emerged in its highest form in the 17th century has been obscured by, on the one hand, the later Romantic aestheticizing of the symbol and, on the other, by the tendency to conceive the allegorical negatively in its contrast with this devalued, aesthetic concept.

It is only by first recovering a genuine theological concept of the symbol, therefore, that we are able in turn to distinguish an authentic concept of the allegorical. This it to be done by reasserting the profound but paradoxical theological unity between the material and the transcendental found in the symbolic. The fundamental distinction between theological concepts of symbol and the allegory will then be seen as concerning not their differing objects Idea vs.

Benjamin will conclude that this difference is, specifically, a temporal one. We must understand the temporality of the allegorical, in contrast, as something dynamic, mobile, and fluid. This authentic concept of allegory arises in the 17th century baroque as a response to the antithesis between mediaeval religiosity and Renaissance secularization discussed earlier.

From the perspective of the allegorical, the instantaneous transformation within the symbolic becomes a natural history slowed to such an extreme that every sign appears frozen and—seemingly loosened from every other relationship—arbitrary. The concrete corporeality of the written script exemplifies this allegorical emphasis upon things. Allegory is not the conventional representation of some expression, as misunderstood by later critics, but an expression of convention [ Ausdruck der Konvention ] OGT, Allegorical expression includes as its object this very conventionality of the historical, this appearance of insignificance and indifference.

That is, convention itself comes to be signified or expressed. What Benjamin rediscovers in the allegorical is, then, something akin to the concept of the expressionless, as the torso of a symbol, introduced in the essay on Goethe. Benjamin argues that this predominance of the allegorical viewpoint in the 17th century baroque finds it most dramatic expression in the mourning-play, and that consequently the Idea of the mourning-play must be grasped via the allegorical.

At the level of methodology, Benjamin advocates the necessity of a transdisciplinary approach to artworks, capable of critically overcoming the epistemological and historical limitations of the existing disciplines of the philosophy of art and the history of art specifically, literary history. This transdisciplinary aspect of Benjamin's thesis may partially account for the difficulties in its reception at the University of Frankfurt, where the thesis was rejected by the departments of both philosophy and literature. Much of the theoretical discussion in the Prologue is concerned with correcting the methodological one-sidedness of each existing approach by way of the positive features of the other.

In general, the philosophy of art correctly attends to the problem of essences, but remains hampered by its lack of any adequate historical consideration. Conversely, the history of art is preoccupied with historical lineage but has no adequate concept of essence. Yet it is not simply an amalgamation of aesthetics and history that is required, but their radical rethinking in accordance with first a historical concept of essence and second a philosophical concept of history.

Broadly speaking, Benjamin's theory of Ideas transposes the philosophical problem of metaphysical realism into the context of aesthetics. The Prologue criticises existing traditions of aesthetic nominalism for their inadequate resolution of the problem. This aversion to any realism of constitutive Ideas is grounded on the positivist criterion of factual verification. This quickly leads to scepticism, however, since its still fails to address the problematic criteria by which this general concept is initially picked out and abstracted from the multiplicity of particulars or on what grounds these particulars are grouped together.

Consequently, it fails to appreciate the necessity of the Platonic postulation of Ideas for the representation of essences: whilst concepts seek to make the similar identical, Ideas are necessary to effect a dialectical synthesis between phenomenal extremes OGT, 40—1. In contrast, philosophers of art possess a concern with the essential that ends up renouncing any notion of generic forms, on the grounds that the singular originality of every single work entails the only possible essential genre must be the universal and individual one of art itself. The error—as Benjamin had previously charged the Early German Romantics, discussed above—is to dissolve real and important aesthetic structures or forms into an undifferentiated unity of art , which denies their irreducible multiplicity OGT, 43—4.

The theory of Ideas presented in the Prologue is truncated and difficult to understand outside the context of Benjamin's earlier works, and the philosophical tradition that it engages with is further obscured in the English translation. However, the critical aspects of Benjamin's investigation advocate—against aesthetic versions of positivist empiricism—a metaphysical realism, and, against certain versions of philosophical idealism, a non-singular essentialism.

That is, he does not restrict the possibility of metaphysical reality only to actual empirical particulars and he advocates the multiplicity and not singularity of the essence understood, in Goethean terms, as a harmony and not a unity of truth. Ideas are not given to some intellectual intuition, but they are capable of being sensuously represented. Such a sensuous representation of the truth remains the task of philosophy. Benjamin's theoretical elaboration proceeds by startling imagistic reconfigurations of pre-existing elements within the philosophical tradition.

He offers a number of possibilities for thinking such Ideas in the Prologue, taken from the realm not only of philosophy but of aesthetics, theology and science. The first is the Platonic Idea, here divorced from its association with the scientific ascent to some purely rational, objective knowledge such as appears in the account of dialectic in the Republic and instead linked to the discussion of beautiful semblance in the Symposium OGT, The second is that of the Adamic Name, as developed in his earlier theory of language. In this context, he comments that the Early German Romantics were frustrated in their attempt to renew the theory of Ideas because truth took on the character of reflective consciousness for them, rather than that intentionless, linguistic character in which things were subsumed under essential Names by Adam's primal-interrogation [ urvernehmen ] OGT, Naming is the primal history [ Urgeschicte ] of signifying, indicating a thing-like disinterest which contrasts with the directed, unifying intentionality of Husserlian phenomenology OGT, Finally, and most famously, Benjamin compares the virtual objectivity of the Idea represented through the reconfiguring of actual phenomena to an astrological constellation, which simultaneously groups together and is revealed by the cluster of individual stars.

Benjamin's concern to reincorporate the perspective of art's temporal transformation demands an analogous radicalization. For the messianic philosophy of history that grounds Benjamin's work problematizes existing formulations of the concepts of history and historical origin. In line with his discussion of the Idea, the concept of historical origin should not be reduced to the causality and actuality of the empirically factual, nor should it be regarded as a purely logical and timeless essence. Criticism attempts to virtually reassemble the fore- and after-history [ Vor- und Nachgeschichte ] of the phenomena into a historical constellation, in which the Idea is represented and the phenomena redeemed.

This is its messianic function in relation to the historical Absolute. The Prologue also seeks to rescue the allegorical experience recognised in the mourning-plays for a modern theory of criticism. Allegorical contemplation aims at the ruination of things so that it can, in its redemptive moment, construct [ baun ] a new whole out of the elements of the old. The character of this construction distinguishes it from the creative invention of fantasy, since it manipulates and rearranges pre-existing material. To leave an imprint or impression of this construction [ Konstruktion ] is one of its aims.

Weigel , xiv. The underlying affinity between romanticism and the baroque lies in their shared modernist concern with correcting classicism in art and the quasi-mythical perspective of classicism in general OGT, ; Although Benjamin is citing the similarities between Expressionism in modern literature and the Mannerist exaggeration of the baroque, his own reconstruction of allegorical experience and its value for aesthetic theory is experienced according to a historical conjunction between the baroque past and the modernity of Benjamin's present: modernity both reveals and is revealed in the baroque.

This in part accounts for what T. The city furnishes the sensuous, imagistic material for One-Way Street , whilst the genres of the leaflet, placard and advertisement provide the constructive principle by which it is rearranged as a constellation. This formal methodology resembles the technological media of photography and film, as well as the avant-garde practices of Russian Constructivism and French Surrealism.

The theory of experience outlined in his early writings is enlisted for revolutionary ends. The latent energy residing in the most destitute and outmoded of things is, through the construction of new political constellations, transformed into an intoxicating, revolutionary experience SW 2, All of Benjamin's major essays of the s derived their impetus and orientation from his Arcades work, and served to defer its completion in the act of elaborating its elements.

This deferral was also, in part, the result of a process of maturation—a kind of ripening—immanent to the work itself. The practice of research, conceptual organization and presentation that it involved was self-consciously conceived as a working model for a new, philosophically oriented, materialist historiography with political intent. In this respect, in its very failure to be actualized, it confirmed the fundamental historical and philosophical truth of Benjamin's earlier analysis of the Romantic fragment—extending the genre in a hitherto unimagined way.

In the ebb and flow of its changing rhythms—additions, revisions, reformulations and retrievals—Benjamin's Arcades Project provides an extraordinary case study in the labour of conceptual construction via the configuration and reconfiguration of archival materials. Only since their publication has it been possible to get a clear sense of the overall trajectory of Benjamin's thought during this period—rendering redundant, or at least displacing, many of the polemics associated with previous cycles of reception.

As the project evolved, and in response to the barriers to its realization, Baudelaire thus became increasingly central to Benjamin's thinking. However, to reduce the project to its own, restricted de facto trajectory, rich as it is, does too much violence to the historical and philosophical framework it embodies, from which the material on Baudelaire gains its broader significance. The two terms, capitalism and modernity, are inextricable for Benjamin in the context of 19th- and early 20th-century Europe. The problem: to dialectically redeem the concept of experience [ Erfahrung ] by finding an appropriate way of experiencing the crisis of experience itself.

Herein lay the basis of his friendship with Brecht. Unlike Brecht, however, he conceived them within the terms of a speculative cultural history Caygill The second is concentrated in readings of Baudelaire and related texts by Nietzsche and Blanqui. The focusing-in on these three thinkers is a focusing-in on the relationship of capitalism to modernity in its purest, nihilistic form.

The third is conjured from a reflective conjunction of Marx, Nietzsche and Surrealism. It is the development of the forces of production that is the motor of history. However, Benjamin was no more orthodox a Marxist about technology than he was with regard to the concept of progress, the Marxist version of which the German Social Democratic Party SPD grounded upon it see Section 8, below. The mastery of nature, so the imperialists teach, is the purpose of all technology [ Technik ].

But …technology is not the mastery of nature but of the relation between nature and humanity.

SW 1, , translation amended. The collective is a body, too. And the physis that is being organized for it in technology can, through all its political and factual reality, only be produced in that image sphere to which profane illumination initiates us. Only when in technology body and image so interpenetrate that all revolutionary tension becomes bodily collective innervation, and all the bodily innervations of the collective become revolutionary discharge, has reality transcended itself to the extent demanded by the Communist Manifesto. SW 2, —8.

Art—an art of the masses—appears within this scenario as the educative mechanism through which the body of the collective can begin to appropriate its own technological potential. In this respect, it was the combination of the communist pedagogy and constructive devices of Brecht's epic theatre that marked it out for him as a theatre for the age of film UB, 1—25; Wizisla Much ink has been spilt debating the thesis of the decline of the aura in Benjamin's work.

On the one hand, with regard to some of his writings, Benjamin's concept of aura has been accused of fostering a nostalgic, purely negative sense of modernity as loss—loss of unity both with nature and in community A. Benjamin On the other hand, in the work on film, Benjamin appears to adopt an affirmative technological modernism, which celebrates the consequences of the decline.

Trajectories of Mysticism in Theory and Literature | P. Leonard | Palgrave Macmillan

Adorno, for one, felt betrayed by the latter position. He wrote to Benjamin on 18 March Yet Adorno was wrong to see a simple change of position, rather than a complex series of inflections of what was a generally consistent historical account. This context over-determines the essay throughout, with its almost Manichean oppositions between ritual and politics, cult value and exhibition value. For some, however, it is precisely the connection it draws between a certain kind of mass culture and fascism that provides its continuing relevance Buck-Morss It is associated with transitoriness as the generalized social instantiation of the temporality of the modern, in the capitalist metropolis.

It is here that transitoriness enters the picture—as a result of the generalization of novelty. Baudelaire was able to grasp this experience, according to Benjamin, through the contradictory historical temporality that structured his work: at once resolutely modern yet, in its poetic form lyric , already anachronistic.

What determines the rhythm of production on a conveyor belt is the same thing that underlies the rhythm of reception in the film. SW 4, — SW 4, , translation amended; GS 1. The connection of the modern to fascism does not appear solely through the thematic of the false restoration of the aura, but also within the process of its disintegration by shock. Baudelaire is thus not merely the privileged writer for the advent of the theory of the modern, but the one in whose work the nineteenth century appears most clearly as the fore-life of the present.

On the one hand, it de-historicizes experience, wresting it away from the temporal continuities of tradition. On the other hand, a messianic structure—an opening of history to something outside of time—reasserts itself within the still life [ nature mort ] of modernity's restless sameness.

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It transforms the historical naturalism of the baroque, analyzed in the Origin of the German Mourning-Play Section 4, above , in a futural direction. In particular, it involves a prioritization of the interruptive stasis of the image over the continuity of temporal succession. This was in large part the polemical legacy of the competing influence of three friendships—with Gershom Scholem, Theodor W.

Scholem promoted a theological interpretation, Brecht inspired a materialist one, while Adorno attempted to forge some form of compatibility between the two. This new philosophy of historical time is the ultimate goal of Benjamin's later writings. He had both philosophical and political reasons for this. It is naturalistic in so far as it acknowledges no fundamental temporal-ontological distinction between past, present and future time; it has no sense of time as the ongoing production of temporal differentiation.

Time is differentiated solely by the differences between the events that occur within it. In particular, it fails to grasp that historical time the time of human life is constituted through such immanent differentiations, via the existential modes of memory, expectation and action. In this respect, there are affinities between Benjamin's philosophy of time and Heidegger's Caygill, In other words, the concept of progress is demobilizing; and Marxism had become infected by the ideology of progress.

The experimental method of montage, borrowed from surrealism, was to be the means of production of historical intelligibility. The passage above continues:. The philosophy of historical time which these images sum up was elaborated by him in two main contexts: the development of a new conception of cultural history and a political diagnosis of the historical crisis of Europe at the outset of the Second World War.

It is here, in an ontological rethinking of reception, that the philosophical significance of Benjamin's interest in technologies of reproduction lies. With these concepts of fore- and afterlife, Benjamin founded a new problematic for cultural study. In this respect, cultural study is situated within the field of a materialist philosophy of history. And the philosophy of history insists on a conception of history as a whole. Benjamin was aware that this rhetoric would lead to misunderstanding. But the combination of perceived political urgency and isolation compelled him to extend his concept of history beyond the state of his philosophical research, experimentally, into an apparently definitive statement.

It is as if Benjamin had hoped to overcome the aporia of action within his still essentially hermeneutical philosophy Osborne through the force of language alone. As such, it remains resolutely negative—and thereby importantly partial—in its evocation of the historical whole, which is acknowledged as unpresentable. The current standard German edition of Benjamin's work remains Suhrkamp's seven volume Gesammelte Schriften , edited by Tiedemann and Schweppenhauser, although a new Kritish Gesamtausgabe is currently being edited, also by Suhrkamp and projected at twenty-one volumes over the next decade.

Adorno, Theodor W. Charles1 westminster. Biographical Sketch 2. Early Works: Kant and Experience 3. Romanticism, Goethe and Criticism 4. Baroque Constellations 5. The Arcades Project 6. Art and Technology 7. Baudelaire and the Modern 8. Biographical Sketch Walter Bendix Schoenflies Benjamin was born on July 15, , the eldest of three children in a prosperous Berlin family from an assimilated Jewish background. Early Works: Kant and Experience The importance of Benjamin's early unpublished fragments for an understanding his wider philosophical project has been emphasised by a number of scholars Wolfharth ; Caygill ; Rrenban Romanticism, Goethe and Criticism Benjamin initially sought to develop these ideas in the context of Kant's philosophy of history, believing it was in this context that the problems of the Kantian system could be fully exposed and challenged C, Grandville, or the World Exhibitions C.

Louis Philippe, or the Interior D. The Paris of the 2nd Empire in Baudelaire i. The Modern 3. SW 1, , translation amended The collective is a body, too. The first technology really sought to master nature, whereas the second aims rather at an interplay between nature and humanity. The primary social function of art today is to rehearse that interplay. This applies especially to film. The function of film is to train human beings in the apperception and reactions needed to deal with a vast apparatus whose role in their lives is expanding almost daily.

Dealing with this apparatus also teaches them that technology will release them from their enslavement to the powers of the apparatus only when humanity's whole constitution has adapted itself to the new productive forces which the second technology has set free. He wrote to Benjamin on 18 March In your earlier writings… you distinguished the idea of the work of art as a structure from the symbol of theology on the one hand, and from the taboo of magic on the other. SW 4, In other words, the concept of progress is demobilizing; and Marxism had become infected by the ideology of progress. It is not that what is past casts its light on what is present, or what is present its light on what is past; rather, an image is that wherein what has been comes together in a flash with the now to form a constellation.

In other words: image is dialectics at a standstill. For while the relation of the present to the past is purely temporal, the relation of what-has-been to the now is dialectical: not temporal in nature but figural [ bildlich ]. Only dialectical images are genuinely historical … AP, [N3, 1], The experimental method of montage, borrowed from surrealism, was to be the means of production of historical intelligibility.

In this way they serve the apotheosis of the latter, barbaric as it may be. Bibliography Primary Literature The current standard German edition of Benjamin's work remains Suhrkamp's seven volume Gesammelte Schriften , edited by Tiedemann and Schweppenhauser, although a new Kritish Gesamtausgabe is currently being edited, also by Suhrkamp and projected at twenty-one volumes over the next decade. Esther Leslie, London: Verso, Adorno, The Complete Correspondences — , ed.

Howard Eiland, Cambridge, MA. Wieland Hoban, Cambridge: Polity, Gershom Scholem, Cambridge, MA. I-VII, Kritische Gesamtausgabe , Bd. Momme Brodersen et. Gary Smith, Cambridge, MA. John Osborne, London: Verso, Underwood, Harmondsworth: Penguin, Lecia Rosenthal, London: Verso, Jennings, Cambridge, MA. Anna Bostock, London: Verso, Leslie, E. Brodersen, M. Scholem, G. Witte, B. Wizisla, E. Selected English Anthologies Benjamin, A.

Benjamin, A. Charles, M. Ferris, D. Anarcha-feminism also called anarchist feminism or anarcho-feminism combines feminist and anarchist beliefs, embodying classical libertarianism rather than contemporary conservative libertarianism. Anarcha-feminists view patriarchy as a manifestation of hierarchy, believing that the fight against patriarchy is an essential part of the class struggle and the anarchist struggle against the state. Anarcha-feminists such as Susan Brown see the anarchist struggle as a necessary component of the feminist struggle. In Brown's words, "anarchism is a political philosophy that opposes all relationships of power, it is inherently feminist".

Recently, Wendy McElroy has defined a position which she labels "ifeminism" or "individualist feminism" that combines feminism with anarcho-capitalism or contemporary conservative libertarianism, arguing that a pro-capitalist, anti-state position is compatible with an emphasis on equal rights and empowerment for women. Individualist anarchist-feminism has grown from the US-based individualist anarchism movement.

Individualist feminism is typically defined as a feminism in opposition to what writers such as Wendy McElroy and Christina Hoff Sommers term, political or gender feminism. However, there are some differences within the discussion of individualist feminism. While some individualist feminists like McElroy oppose government interference into the choices women make with their bodies because such interference creates a coercive hierarchy such as patriarchy , other feminists such as Christina Hoff Sommers hold that feminism's political role is simply to ensure that everyone's, including women's, right against coercive interference is respected.

Sommers is described as a "socially conservative equity feminist" by the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Critics have called her an anti-feminist. Standpoint Since the s, standpoint feminists have argued that feminism should examine how women's experience of inequality relates to that of racism, homophobia, classism and colonization. In the late s and s postmodern feminists argued that gender roles are socially constructed, and that it is impossible to generalize women's experiences across cultures and histories.

Post-structural and postmodern Post-structural feminism, also referred to as French feminism, uses the insights of various epistemological movements, including psychoanalysis, linguistics, political theory Marxist and post-Marxist theory , race theory, literary theory, and other intellectual currents for feminist concerns. Many post-structural feminists maintain that difference is one of the most powerful tools that females possess in their struggle with patriarchal domination, and that to equate the feminist movement only with equality is to deny women a plethora of options because equality is still defined from the masculine or patriarchal perspective.

Postmodern feminism is an approach to feminist theory that incorporates postmodern and post-structuralist theory. The largest departure from other branches of feminism is the argument that gender is constructed through language. The most notable proponent of this argument is Judith Butler. Butler criticizes the distinction drawn by previous feminisms between biological sex and socially constructed gender.

She says that this does not allow for a sufficient criticism of essentialism.

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For Butler "woman" is a debatable category, complicated by class, ethnicity, sexuality, and other facets of identity. She states that gender is performative. This argument leads to the conclusion that there is no single cause for women's subordination and no single approach towards dealing with the issue. In A Cyborg Manifesto Donna Haraway criticizes traditional notions of feminism, particularly its emphasis on identity, rather than affinity. She uses the metaphor of a cyborg in order to construct a postmodern feminism that moves beyond dualisms and the limitations of traditional gender, feminism, and politics.

Haraway's cyborg is an attempt to break away from Oedipal narratives and Christian origin-myths like Genesis. She writes: "The cyborg does not dream of community on the model of the organic family, this time without the oedipal project. The cyborg would not recognize the Garden of Eden; it is not made of mud and cannot dream of returning to dust. Other postmodern feminist works highlight stereotypical gender roles, only to portray them as parodies of the original beliefs.

The history of feminism is not important in these writings - only what is going to be done about it. The history is dismissed and used to depict how ridiculous past beliefs were. Modern feminist theory has been extensively criticized as being predominantly, though not exclusively, associated with Western middle class academia. Mary Joe Frug, a postmodernist feminist, criticized mainstream feminism as being too narrowly focused and inattentive to related issues of race and class.

Environmental Ecofeminism links ecology with feminism. Ecofeminists see the domination of women as stemming from the same ideologies that bring about the domination of the environment. Patriarchal systems, where men own and control the land, are seen as responsible for the oppression of women and destruction of the natural environment. Ecofeminists argue that the men in power control the land, and therefore they are able to exploit it for their own profit and success.

Ecofeminists argue that in this situation, women are exploited by men in power for their own profit, success, and pleasure. Ecofeminists argue that women and the environment are both exploited as passive pawns in the race to domination. Ecofeminists argue that those people in power are able to take advantage of them distinctly because they are seen as passive and rather helpless. Ecofeminism connects the exploitation and domination of women with that of the environment. As a way of repairing social and ecological injustices, ecofeminists feel that women must work towards creating a healthy environment and ending the destruction of the lands that most women rely on to provide for their families.

Ecofeminism argues that there is a connection between women and nature that comes from their shared history of oppression by a patriarchal Western society. Vandana Shiva claims that women have a special connection to the environment through their daily interactions with it that has been ignored. Society The feminist movement has effected change in Western society, including women's suffrage; greater access to education; more nearly equitable pay with men; the right to initiate divorce proceedings and "no fault" divorce; and the right of women to make individual decisions regarding pregnancy including access to contraceptives and abortion ; as well as the right to own property.

Civil rights From the s on the women's liberation movement campaigned for women's rights, including the same pay as men, equal rights in law, and the freedom to plan their families. Their efforts were met with mixed results. Issues commonly associated with notions of women's rights include, though are not limited to: the right to bodily integrity and autonomy; to vote universal suffrage ; to hold public office; to work; to fair wages or equal pay; to own property; to education; to serve in the military; to enter into legal contracts; and to have marital, parental and religious rights.

In the UK a public groundswell of opinion in favour of legal equality gained pace, partly through the extensive employment of women in men's traditional roles during both world wars. With encouragement from the UK government, the other countries of the EEC soon followed suit with an agreement to ensure that discrimination laws would be phased out across the European Community.

Supporters believed it would guarantee women equal treatment. But critics feared it might deny women the right be financially supported by their husbands. The amendment died in because not enough states had ratified it. ERAs have been included in subsequent Congresses, but have still failed to be ratified. In the final three decades of the 20th century, Western women knew a new freedom through birth control, which enabled women to plan their adult lives, often making way for both career and family.

The United Nations Human Development Report estimated that when both paid employment and unpaid household tasks are accounted for, on average women work more than men. Described as an international bill of rights for women, it came into force on 3 September Several countries have ratified the Convention subject to certain declarations, reservations and objections. Expecting a U. Language Gender-neutral language is a description of language usages which are aimed at minimizing assumptions regarding the biological sex of human referents. The advocacy of gender-neutral language reflects, at least, two different agendas: one aims to clarify the inclusion of both sexes or genders gender-inclusive language ; the other proposes that gender, as a category, is rarely worth marking in language gender-neutral language.

Gender-neutral language is sometimes described as non-sexist language by advocates and politically-correct language by opponents. Heterosexual relationships The increased entry of women into the workplace beginning in the twentieth century has affected gender roles and the division of labor within households. Sociologist Arlie Russell Hochschild in The Second Shift and The Time Bind presents evidence that in two-career couples, men and women, on average, spend about equal amounts of time working, but women still spend more time on housework.

Feminist writer Cathy Young responds to Hochschild's assertions by arguing that in some cases, women may prevent the equal participation of men in housework and parenting. Feminist criticisms of men's contributions to child care and domestic labor in the Western middle class are typically centered around the idea that it is unfair for women to be expected to perform more than half of a household's domestic work and child care when both members of the relationship also work outside the home.

Several studies provide statistical evidence that the financial income of married men does not affect their rate of attending to household duties. In Dubious Conceptions, Kristin Luker discusses the effect of feminism on teenage women's choices to bear children, both in and out of wedlock. She says that as childbearing out of wedlock has become more socially acceptable, young women, especially poor young women, while not bearing children at a higher rate than in the s, now see less of a reason to get married before having a child.

Her explanation for this is that the economic prospects for poor men are slim, hence poor women have a low chance of finding a husband who will be able to provide reliable financial support. Although research suggests that to an extent, both women and men perceive feminism to be in conflict with romance, studies of undergraduates and older adults have shown that feminism has positive impacts on relationship health for women and sexual satisfaction for men, and found no support for negative stereotypes of feminists.

Religion Feminist theology is a movement that reconsiders the traditions, practices, scriptures, and theologies of religions from a feminist perspective. Some of the goals of feminist theology include increasing the role of women among the clergy and religious authorities, reinterpreting male-dominated imagery and language about God, determining women's place in relation to career and motherhood, and studying images of women in the religion's sacred texts.

Christian feminism is a branch of feminist theology which seeks to interpret and understand Christianity in light of the equality of women and men. Because this equality has been historically ignored, Christian feminists believe their contributions are necessary for a complete understanding of Christianity. While there is no standard set of beliefs among Christian feminists, most agree that God does not discriminate on the basis of biologically-determined characteristics such as sex.

Their major issues are the ordination of women, male dominance in Christian marriage, and claims of moral deficiency and inferiority of abilities of women compared to men. They also are concerned with the balance of parenting between mothers and fathers and the overall treatment of women in the church. Islamic feminism is concerned with the role of women in Islam and aims for the full equality of all Muslims, regardless of gender, in public and private life.

Islamic feminists advocate women's rights, gender equality, and social justice grounded in an Islamic framework. Although rooted in Islam, the movement's pioneers have also utilized secular and Western feminist discourses and recognize the role of Islamic feminism as part of an integrated global feminist movement. Advocates of the movement seek to highlight the deeply rooted teachings of equality in the Quran and encourage a questioning of the patriarchal interpretation of Islamic teaching through the Quran, hadith sayings of Muhammad , and sharia law towards the creation of a more equal and just society.

Jewish feminism is a movement that seeks to improve the religious, legal, and social status of women within Judaism and to open up new opportunities for religious experience and leadership for Jewish women. Feminist movements, with varying approaches and successes, have opened up within all major branches of Judaism. In its modern form, the movement can be traced to the early s in the United States. According to Judith Plaskow, who has focused on feminism in Reform Judaism, the main issues for early Jewish feminists in these movements were the exclusion from the all-male prayer group or minyan, the exemption from positive time-bound mitzvot, and women's inability to function as witnesses and to initiate divorce.

It is also one sect of the many practiced in Wicca. Theology Feminist theology is a movement found in several religions to reconsider the traditions, practices, scriptures, and theologies of those religions from a feminist perspective.


In Wicca "the Goddess" is a deity of prime importance, along with her consort the Horned God. In the earliest Wiccan publications she is described as a tribal goddess of the witch community, neither omnipotent nor universal, and it was recognised that there was a greater "Prime Mover", although the witches did not concern themselves much with this being.

Architecture Gender-based inquiries into and conceptualization of architecture have also come about in the past fifteen years or so. Piyush Mathur coined the term "archigenderic" in his article in the British journal Women's Writing. Claiming that "architectural planning has an inextricable link with the defining and regulation of gender roles, responsibilities, rights, and limitations," Mathur came up with that term "to explore In the West, second-wave feminism prompted a general reevaluation of women's historical contributions, and various academic sub-disciplines, such as Women's history or herstory and women's writing, developed in response to the belief that women's lives and contributions have been underrepresented as areas of scholarly interest.

Virginia Balisn et al. Much of this early period of feminist literary scholarship was given over to the rediscovery and reclamation of texts written by women. Studies such as Dale Spender's Mothers of the Novel and Jane Spencer's The Rise of the Woman Novelist were ground-breaking in their insistence that women have always been writing. Commensurate with this growth in scholarly interest, various presses began the task of reissuing long-out-of-print texts.

Virago Press began to publish its large list of nineteenth and early-twentieth-century novels in and became one of the first commercial presses to join in the project of reclamation. In the s Pandora Press, responsible for publishing Spender's study, issued a companion line of eighteenth-century novels written by women. More recently, Broadview Press has begun to issue eighteenth- and nineteenth-century works, many hitherto out of print and the University of Kentucky has a series of republications of early women's novels.

There has been commensurate growth in the area of biographical dictionaries of women writers due to a perception, according to one editor, that "most of our women are not represented in the 'standard' reference books in the field". Science fiction In the s the genre of science fiction combined its sensationalism with political and technological critiques of society. Two early texts are Ursula K. They serve to highlight the socially constructed nature of gender roles by creating utopias that do away with gender. Both authors were also pioneers in feminist criticism of science fiction in the s and 70s, in essays collected in The Language of the Night Le Guin, and How To Suppress Women's Writing Russ, Another major work of feminist science fiction has been Kindred by Octavia Butler.

Riot grrrl movement Riot grrrl or riot grrl is an underground feminist punk movement that started in the s and is often associated with third-wave feminism it is sometimes seen as its starting point. It was Grounded in the DIY philosophy of punk values. Riot grrls took an anti-corporate stance of self-sufficiency and self-reliance. Riot grrrl's emphasis on universal female identity and separatism often appears more closely allied with second-wave feminism than with the third wave.

Riot grrrl bands often address issues such as rape, domestic abuse, sexuality, and female empowerment. In addition to a music scene, riot grrrl is also a subculture; zines, the DIY ethic, art, political action, and activism are part of the movement. Riot grrrls hold meetings, start chapters, and support and organize women in music.

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The riot grrrl movement sprang out of Olympia, Washington and Washington, D. It sought to give women the power to control their voices and artistic expressions. Riot grrrls took a growling double or triple r, placing it in the word girl as a way to take back the derogatory use of the term. The music and zine writings are strong examples of "cultural politics in action, with strong women giving voice to important social issues though an empowered, a female oriented community, many people link the emergence of the third-wave feminism to this time".

Pornography The "Feminist Sex Wars" is a term for the acrimonious debates within the feminist movement in the late s through the s around the issues of feminism, sexuality, sexual representation, pornography, sadomasochism, the role of transwomen in the lesbian community, and other sexual issues. The debate pitted anti-pornography feminism against sex-positive feminism, and parts of the feminist movement were deeply divided by these debates. Anti-pornography feminists, such as Catharine MacKinnon, Andrea Dworkin, Robin Morgan and Dorchen Leidholdt, put pornography at the center of a feminist explanation of women's oppression.

Some feminists, such as Diana Russell, Andrea Dworkin, Catharine MacKinnon, Susan Brownmiller, Dorchen Leidholdt, Ariel Levy, and Robin Morgan, argue that pornography is degrading to women, and complicit in violence against women both in its production where, they charge, abuse and exploitation of women performing in pornography is rampant and in its consumption where, they charge, pornography eroticizes the domination, humiliation, and coercion of women, and reinforces sexual and cultural attitudes that are complicit in rape and sexual harassment.

Beginning in the late s, anti-pornography radical feminists formed organizations such as Women Against Pornography that provided educational events, including slide-shows, speeches, and guided tours of the sex industry in Times Square, in order to raise awareness of the content of pornography and the sexual subculture in pornography shops and live sex shows. Andrea Dworkin and Robin Morgan began articulating a vehemently anti-porn stance based in radical feminism beginning in , and anti-porn feminist groups, such as Women Against Pornography and similar organizations, became highly active in various US cities during the late s.

Sex-positive movement Sex-positive feminism is a movement that was formed in order to address issues of women's sexual pleasure, freedom of expression, sex work, and inclusive gender identities. Although some sex-positive feminists, such as Betty Dodson, were active in the early s, much of sex-positive feminism largely began in the late s and s as a response to the increasing emphasis in radical feminism on anti-pornography activism.

Sex-positive feminists are also strongly opposed to radical feminist calls for legislation against pornography, a strategy they decried as censorship, and something that could, they argued, be used by social conservatives to censor the sexual expression of women, gay people, and other sexual minorities. The initial period of intense debate and acrimony between sex-positive and anti-pornography feminists during the early s is often referred to as the Feminist Sex Wars.

Other sex-positive feminists became involved not in opposition to other feminists, but in direct response to what they saw as patriarchal control of sexuality. Relationship to political movements Socialism Since the early twentieth century some feminists have allied with socialism. In there was an International Conference of Socialist Women in Stuttgart where suffrage was described as a tool of class struggle.

Clara Zetkin of the Social Democratic Party of Germany called for women's suffrage to build a "socialist order, the only one that allows for a radical solution to the women's question". In Britain, the women's movement was allied with the Labour party. In America, Betty Friedan emerged from a radical background to take command of the organized movement.

Radical Women, founded in in Seattle is the oldest and still active socialist feminist organization in the U. Although she supported equal rights for women, she opposed women fighting on the front and clashed with the anarcho-feminist Mujeres Libres. Revolutions in Latin America brought changes in women's status in countries such as Nicaragua where Feminist ideology during the Sandinista Revolution was largely responsible for improvements in the quality of life for women but fell short of achieving a social and ideological change.

Fascism Scholars have argued that Nazi Germany and the other fascist states of the s and s illustrates the disastrous consequences for society of a state ideology that, in glorifying traditional images of women, becomes anti-feminist. In Germany after the rise of Nazism in , there was a rapid dissolution of the political rights and economic opportunities that feminists had fought for during the prewar period and to some extent during the s. In Franco's Spain, the right wing Catholic conservatives undid the work of feminists during the Republic.

Fascist society was hierarchical with an emphasis and idealization of virility, with women maintaining a largely subordinate position to men. Scientific discourse Some feminists are critical of traditional scientific discourse, arguing that the field has historically been biased towards a masculine perspective. Evelyn Fox Keller argues that the rhetoric of science reflects a masculine perspective, and she questions the idea of scientific objectivity. According to communication scholars Thomas R. Lindlof and Bryan C. Taylor, incorporating a feminist approach to qualitative research involves treating research participants as equals who are just as much an authority as the researcher.

Objectivity is eschewed in favor of open self-reflexivity and the agenda of helping women. Lindlof and Taylor also explain that a feminist approach to research often involves nontraditional forms of presentation. Primatologist Sarah Blaffer Hrdy notes the prevalence of masculine-coined stereotypes and theories, such as the non-sexual female, despite "the accumulation of abundant openly available evidence contradicting it". Some natural and social scientists have examined feminist ideas using scientific methods.

Biology of gender Modern feminist science challenges the biological essentialist view of gender, however it is increasingly interested in the study of biological sex differences and their effect on human behavior. For example, Anne Fausto-Sterling's book Myths of Gender explores the assumptions embodied in scientific research that purports to support a biologically essentialist view of gender. Her second book, Sexing the Body discussed the alleged possibility of more than two true biological sexes.

This possibility only exists in yet-unknown extraterrestrial biospheres, as no ratios of true gametes to polar cells other than and male and female, respectively are produced on Earth. However, in The Female Brain, Louann Brizendine argues that brain differences between the sexes are a biological reality with significant implications for sex-specific functional differences.

Steven Rhoads' book Taking Sex Differences Seriously illustrates sex-dependent differences across a wide scope. Carol Tavris, in The Mismeasure of Woman, uses psychology and sociology to critique theories that use biological reductionism to explain differences between men and women. She argues rather than using evidence of innate gender difference there is an over-changing hypothesis to justify inequality and perpetuate stereotypes.

Evolutionary biology Sarah Kember - drawing from numerous areas such as evolutionary biology, sociobiology, artificial intelligence, and cybernetics in development with a new evolutionism - discusses the biologization of technology. She notes how feminists and sociologists have become suspect of evolutionary psychology, particularly inasmuch as sociobiology is subjected to complexity in order to strengthen sexual difference as immutable through pre-existing cultural value judgments about human nature and natural selection.

Where feminist theory is criticized for its "false beliefs about human nature," Kember then argues in conclusion that "feminism is in the interesting position of needing to do more biology and evolutionary theory in order not to simply oppose their renewed hegemony, but in order to understand the conditions that make this possible, and to have a say in the construction of new ideas and artefacts. Men have taken part in significant responses to feminism in each 'wave' of the movement. There have been positive and negative reactions and responses, depending on the individual man and the social context of the time.

These responses have varied from pro-feminism to masculism to anti-feminism. In the twenty-first century new reactions to feminist ideologies have emerged including a generation of male scholars involved in gender studies, and also men's rights activists who promote male equality including equal treatment in family, divorce and anti-discrimination law.

Historically a number of men have engaged with feminism. Philosopher Jeremy Bentham demanded equal rights for women in the eighteenth century. Others have lobbied and campaigned against feminism. Today, academics like Michael Flood, Michael Messner and Michael Kimmel are involved with men's studies and pro-feminism. A number of feminist writers maintain that identifying as a feminist is the strongest stand men can take in the struggle against sexism.