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Appears in Collections:History and Politics eTheses
Title: From fragmentation to a new wave : identity and citizenship in feminist theory
Author(s): Oldale, Frances
Issue Date: 2000
Publisher: University of Stirling
Abstract: This thesis will argue that feminism is at the edge of a new wave brought about by the fragmentation of the feminist political movement and the rise of postmodern theory. It contends that postmodern theories have been used by feminists as a 'critical strategy' to understand why the movement fragmented and to move towards the acceptance of more strategic and conventional politics. Thus many feminists are now prepared to leave behind the utopian and separatist legacies of the second wave. These feminists are willing to consider how a future feminist movement can be built that will account for the differences between women, and realise that there will thus need to be a painful and precarious process of alliance-building. It is argued that given the precarious nature of the alliance, feminists in a new wave must also re-conceive democratic models of citizenship to ensure that women and feminists' concerns are met in the wider political sphere. This second concern also makes sure that they have institutional and procedural support should fragmentation recur. The thesis considers three such models of citizenship: Seyla Benhabib's deliberative model, Iris Young's communicative model and Chantal Mouffe's agonal one. It contends that these models only partly address the concerns of new wave feminism, because they are based on transformative and participatory models of politics. These models undermine the importance of feminists finding legitimate political relationships that respect the multiplicity of their demands as feminists, as women and as citizens. This thesis concludes that representative models of democracy are more suited to feminist concerns in a new wave. Such models have distinctive characteristics that allow women to be politically included in terms of a range of political concerns and identities. Representative models of democracy, moreover, make it clear that the political relationship is one of formal authorisation and not one of personal identity recognition and transformation.
Type: Thesis or Dissertation
Affiliation: School of Arts and Humanities
History and Politics

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