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Money, Sex and Power Theme 2: The Politics of Sex Citizenship and its exclusions: the sexual contract Week 5.

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Presentation on theme: "Money, Sex and Power Theme 2: The Politics of Sex Citizenship and its exclusions: the sexual contract Week 5."— Presentation transcript:

1 Money, Sex and Power Theme 2: The Politics of Sex Citizenship and its exclusions: the sexual contract Week 5

2 Lecture outline 1.The social contract 2.Pateman and the sexual contract 3. How can women/feminists challenge these exclusions?

3 The social contract Pateman – feminist critique of social contract theory She argues that the social contract incorporates a sexual contract which excludes women from the political arena Idea of social contract is metaphor for understanding government Hobbes (1651), Locke (1690), Rousseau(1762): government should be for and by the people

4 Social Contract Different theories reflect desire to base legitimacy of government on choice of people governed Emerged from increasing importance in 17 th and 18 th centuries of contracts in commercial transactions Social environment of increasing individualism, secularisation, legalism

5 Critics of social contract theory Governments based on coercion not consent (Hume, Bentham, Paine) Run for the benefit of those governing rather than those governed Most governments established by force Claims of women to be recognised as citizens date back to the 18 th century – they were not included in the social contract nor were they regarded as citizens

6 Pateman: the sexual contract The social contract and liberal political theory generates Liberal politics and the political freedom of (male) individuals The sexual subordination of women to men in marriage Social contract creates division between state and civil society Requires sexual contract to maintain patriarchalism

7 Separation of state and civil society Separation of political power from paternal power masculine right over women is declared non-political (Pateman, 1988:90) Original contract wasnt only a social contract establishing freedom, was also a sexual contract perpetuating domination Established mens political right over women through conjugal right

8 Public vs private Contract theorists created division between public sphere of civil freedom and private sphere of family Pateman argues that women not party to the original contract, theyre the subject of the contract Civil society referred to as the private sphere in opposition to public sphere of state Family, where women are subordinated, is forgotten

9 Pateman Exclusion of family and domestic arena not accidental – structural and systematic Denial of political significance of sexual and marital dominance suggests patriarchy of no relevance to public domain What social and political forces confined women to family and allowed men freedom of movement between private and public?

10 Important concepts 1. Possessive individualism 2. Contract, equality and subordination 1.Free men are individuals who own property rights in their own persons and can enter into contracts. Only men have rationality, independence and ownership of property in their own persons. Women naturally inferior to men and lack ability to engage in rational, independent thought. Theyre not born free (as men are). Do not have ownership of property in their own person. Cannot be possessive individuals.

11 Marriage contract If women lack capacities to make contracts how can they enter the marriage contract? Male sex right based on coercion Women do not have same civil status as men In 19 th century married women were the property of their husbands Husband and wife one person and that person was the husband Today rape in marriage outlawed in UK but not in some states in US

12 Sexual difference the construction of sexual difference as political difference is central to civil society (Pateman, 1998:16).

13 Contract, equality and subordination Contract cant be understood as voluntary agreement between free and equal individuals E.g. employers and employees unequal in terms of economic constraints, women and men unequal in terms of family constraints Social contract creates political right in form of domination and subordination

14 Political fiction Contracts claim to regulate voluntary and free exchange of services between individuals who own property in their own persons and capabilities Exchangers are free individuals We cannot contract out our services and capacities, while leaving ourselves free (Diana Coole, 1990)

15 Challenging exclusions The personal is political - slogan Sexual contract not confined to private sphere It is about: Institutionalising heterosexuality Defining women as embodied sexual beings How men claim rights of access and control over womens bodies

16 Judith Squires Integrationist approach Transformational approach Displacement or politicisation approach

17 Integrationist approach Aims to include women in current political forms Women recognised as independent, autonomous, rational, possessive individuals Gender neutral politics Women and femininity identified as problem

18 Transformationist approach Change politics so its more woman friendly Reconfigure political arena Emphasises gender difference, recognises it, takes account of difference Men and masculinity are the problem Pateman adopts this approach – also Nancy Fraser

19 Displacement/ politicisation Attempts to deconstruct gender Way gender is constructed is the problem Reorganise public/ private division in less patriarchal ways

20 Conclusions Political theory is highly gendered, political practice resistant to womens inclusion Womens exclusion from politics and political theory is both gendered and political – requires explanation Sexual contract provides basis for the social contract, excludes women from full political and sexual citizenship


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