Ancient Western Philosophy
Lịch sử Triết học Tây phương cổ đại (translation)
David Wolfsdorf, Temple University
History of Western Philosophy: Modern
— Lịch sử triết học Tây phương hiện đại
Syliane Malinowski-Charles, Temple University
Lịch sử tư tưởng triết học Việt Nam
History of Vietnamese Philosophical Thought (translation)
Nguyễn Hùng Hậu, Hồ Chí Minh National Political Academy
Vietnamese Philosophy from Nôm Manuscripts
— Triết học Việt Nam qua văn bản Nôm
Ngô Thanh Nhàn, Temple University
Metaphysics and Epistemology
— Siêu hình học và nhận thức luận
Western Ethics and Political Philosophy
— Đạo đức và triết học chính trị Tây phương
Shelley Wilcox, San Francisco State University
Một vài nét về lịch sử tư tưởng triết học đạo đức của Việt Nam
— A Historical Sketch of the Vietnamese Ethical Thought
Nguyễn Thế Kiệt, Hồ Chí Minh National Political Academy
Triết học chính trị thời kỳ xây dựng quốc gia phong kiến Việt Nam độc lập tự chủ
Political Philosophy in the Period of Building an Independent and Self-determined Vietnamese Feudalist Nation (translation)
Gs.Ts.Trần Phúc Thăng, Hồ Chí Minh National Political Academy
Gender and the Public Sphere: A genealogy from the West
— Giới và Cõi công: Một phả hệ từ phương Tây
Mary Hawkesworth, Rutgers University
Political Economy: A Brief Overview
Kinh tế chính trị học tổng quan
Peter Manicas, University of Hawai'I at Mānoa
The Philosophy of Language and Thought
Triết lý của ngôn ngữ và tư tưởng
Gerald Vision, Temple University
— Mỹ học
Free Will and Determinism
— Tự ý và quyết định luận
Clyde Dunton-Gallagher, Temple University
The Mind-Body Problem
Vấn đề tinh thần–thể xác
Clyde Dunton-Gallagher, Temple University
— Chủ nghĩa tương đối
Patrick Denehy, Temple University
Tư tưởng nhân nghĩa Việt Nam
— Vietnamese Concepts of 仁義 Humanity and Justice
Dr. Nguyễn Minh Hoàn, Hồ Chí Minh National Political Administrative Academy
Chủ nghĩa yêu nước Việt Nam
— The Concept of Vietnamese Patriotism
Prof. Dr. Trần Phúc Thăng, Hồ Chí Minh National Political Administrative Academy
Đạo làm người
— The Dao Theory of Being Human in Vietnam
Dr. Trần Đăng Sinh & Dr. Lê Văn Đoán. Hanoi National University of Education
Hỗn dung tam giáo ở Việt Nam
— The Unity of Buddhism, Taoism, and Confucianism in Vietnam
Prof. Dr. Nguyễn Thị Nga, Hồ Chí Minh National Political Administrative Academy
Tư duy nội quán (Vipassanā) của Phật giáo và vai trò của nó trong tư duy của người Việt
—Buddhist deep vision (Vipassanā) and its role in the Vietnamese thinking
Prof. Dr. Hoàng Thị Thơ, Director of Eastern Philosophy Study, Institute of Philosophy, Vietnam Academy of Social Sciences
Ý thức cộng đồng Việt Nam
— The Vietnamese Concept of Community Consciousness
Prof. Dr. Trần Văn Phòng, Hồ Chí Minh National Political Administrative Academy
Tinh thần đoàn kết của người Việt Nam
— The Spirit of Vietnamese Solidarity
Phạm Anh Hùng, Hồ Chí Minh National Political Administrative Academy
Chủ quyền quốc gia
— The Concept of National Sovereignty in Vietnam
Prof. Dr. Trần Thanh, Hồ Chí Minh National Political Administrative Academy
Khảo cứu triết lý về nhân dân trong lịch sử tư tưởng Việt Nam
—The Concept of People in the history of Vietnamese philosophical thoughts
Dr. Trương Quốc Chính, Administrative Academy & Dr. Nguyễn Thuý Vân, University of Social Science and Humanities
Hướng đến một khái niệm khoa học về xã hội dân sự
Toward a more scientific Vietnamese concept of Civil Society
Assoc. Prof., Dr. Trần Hữu Quang, Sociology, Center for Information, Institute for Sustainable Development in Southern Vietnam (Academy of Social Sciences)
 Center for Vietnamese Philosophy > Handbook on Philosophy Last update: 2007-10-14 
English-Vietnamese Handbook on Philosophy & Political Economy
Center for Vietnamese Philosophy, Culture & Society Temple University

Gender and the Public Sphere:
A Genealogy from the West

Mary Hawkesworth
Department of Women's and Gender Studies
Rutgers University

Although the 'public' appears to be an inclusive term, feminist scholars have suggested that the public is a gendered domain. Envisioned as male terrain by the political philosophers of antiquity and claimed by men since the republican revolutions of the eighteenth century, the public sphere has proved remarkably resistant to the equal participation of women. This paper provides an overview of feminist accounts of the gendered mechanisms that sustain the public sphere as male space and explores their implications for contemporary understandings of nationalism.

An earlier version of this paper appeared in Ab Imperio 2007 (1): 329-354.


"At bottom, the separation of home and workplace, the rise of the new domestic woman, the separation of the spheres, and the construction of public and private all describe the same phenomenon in different words" (Vickery 1993, 166).

"It is only in the current wave of organized feminist movement that the division between the private and public spheres of social life has become seen as a major political problem" (Pateman 1998, 260).

"The meaning and boundaries of publicity depend at every point on who has the power to draw the line between public and private" (Fraser 1998, 314).

The growth of nationalist movements, a hallmark of nineteenth and twentieth century political life, shows no sign of abating in the twenty-first century. The rise of the nation-state has been associated with dramatic transformations in the power of particular ruling classes, races, and ethnicities. Despite incontrovertible evidence about equally dramatic transformations in women's lives during periods of national liberation and nation-building, however, outside of feminist scholarship there has been little attention to changing gender dynamics associated with nationalism.

Drawing evidence from nationalist struggles in various regions of the world over the past two centuries, feminist scholars have demonstrated that nationalism is a profoundly gendered phenomenon [1]. Although women have been actively involved in the long and dangerous struggles for national independence, organizing against oppressive regimes, mobilizing as citizens, demanding the transformation of the political system, standing publicly against colonial and imperial rule, and participating in revolutionary violence, they hold a very different place in the nationalist imaginary than their male counterparts. Rather than celebrating women's contributions to nationalist struggles, nationalist discourses tend to restrict women to a symbolic role as "mother of the nation" or as the wives and mothers whom men valiantly struggle to protect and defend. Indeed, feminist scholars have shown that nationalism produces gendered patterns of skilling and deskilling, gendered differences in political rights and economic opportunities, gender-specific political visibility and invisibility, while subtly and unsubtly regendering the identities of citizens (Alvarez 1990; Funk and Mueller 1993; Jaquette 1989; Jaquette and Wolchik 1998; McClintock 1995; Miller 1991; Nechemias and Kuehnast 2004; Nelson and Chowdhury 1994; Parker et al. 1992; Radcliffe and Westwood 1993; Saint Germain 1994; Yuval Davis 1997).

If the gendered and gendering practices of nationalism are as pronounced as feminist scholars suggest, how do these complex productions of male advantage and female disadvantage escape scrutiny? In this paper, I will suggest that nationalist discourses deploy notions of the public and the private to naturalize and justify gender inequalities. By drawing upon tacit assumptions that the public sphere is legitimately the domain of men and the private sphere is the natural domain of women nationalist discourses vindicate policies designed to domesticate women. Problematic notions of public/private help mask the operations of power that remove women from equal participation in governance, deprive them of equal pay and equal employment opportunities, and subject them to intrusive modes of regulation and control. To illuminate how nationalist discourses deploy the public/private distinction to depoliticize oppressive practices, I will trace feminist efforts to make sense of the political functions of "the public" and "the private" in Western political thought and practice. In particular, I will map three alternative models of the public/private, a psychoanalytic model that claims universal purchase, an historical model rooted in the revolutions of the late eighteenth century, and a Foucauldian model that analyzes these relations in the context of a contemporary regime of biopower.

Alternative Accounts of the Gendered Public

Joan Landes, a leading historian of the French Revolution, has pointed out that delineations of public and private carry particular resonance in contemporary life. "As the opposite of private, the public pertains to the people as a whole, to community or nationwide concerns, to the common good, to things open in sight, and to those things that may be used or shared by all members of the community" (1988, 3). As a thoroughly value-laden term, the public carries positive connotations, but Landes notes, only in certain contexts. "A public man is one who acts in and for the universal good…on the other hand, a public woman is a prostitute, a commoner, a common woman. A public action then is one authored from or authorized by the masculine position. Only the latter is truly general, community-spirited, and universal in its consequences. Surreptitiously, language works to effect a closure, one that dictates women's absence from political life" (Landes 1988, 3). The "public" then is a gendered concept.

In one sense to note that the public is gendered seems far from controversial. Even as neutral a source as the OED traces the etymology of the public to the Latin, publicus, referring to that which is "under the influence of the pubes—adult men or male population." And even the most cursory examination of those in positions of power in the contemporary public sphere—whether that is defined in terms of politics and the official institutions of state or in terms of civil society institutions—reveals the vast preponderance of men. Yet in another sense, the persistent gendering of public life remains deeply mysterious and a subject of great controversy. Given the extensive and continuing transformations of political life in the modern and postmodern eras, how has male power been preserved and reproduced? How has women's exclusion from the public domain persisted despite two centuries of extensive feminist activism? How have historically specific designations of public and private come to have such gendered "material and experiential consequences in terms of formal institutions, organizational forms, financial systems, familial and kinship patterns, as well as in language?… [How have] they become a basic part of the way our whole social and psychic worlds are ordered" (Davidoff 1988, 165)?

In one of the first major efforts to bring feminist questions and insights to bear on Western political philosophy, Public Man, Private Woman, Jean Bethke Elstain suggested that the public/private distinction can serve as a "prism" though which to examine women's relationship to the political, in part because political theorists have been so unrelenting in structuring their analyses of political order around that distinction. Elstain notes that political theorists have disagreed about whether the demarcation of public from private is natural or conventional, whether "notions of the public and private are prerequisites for and constitutive features of social life itself" or "arbitrary, culturally relative artifacts that exist at the level of convention alone and which can be dispensed with if we are but rational and bold enough" (1981, 11). Regardless of any particular theorist's stance on this "vexing issue," Elstain insists that the public/private distinction is ubiquitous in the works of the Western canon: "public and private notions form one of the bases of explicit political theory in the Western tradition" (10). Whether or not social life is universally organized around privacy and publicity, political theory is. Elshtain's task then was to investigate the public/private thematic in the Western canon in order to comprehend how this "dense web of associational meanings and intimations" operates as "twin force fields to create a moral environment for individuals, singly and in groups; to dictate norms of appropriate or worthy action; to establish barriers to action, particularly in areas such as the taking of human life, regulation of sexual relations, promulgation of familial duties and obligations, and the arena of political responsibility" (1981, 5).

Using political theory as the means to grasp "a society's intersubjectively shared realm…the ideas, symbols, and concepts that are not only shared but whose sharing reverberates within and helps to constitute a way of life on both its manifest and latent levels" (5), Elshtain sorts carefully through changing conceptions of public and private from Plato and Aristotle to contemporary feminist theory to identify enduring relations underlying surface appearances. Defining the public in terms of the political world and the private in terms of the family or household (4), Elshtain suggests that "the problem for women is not just their exclusion from political participation but the terms under which this exclusion has occurred" (xiv). According to Elshtain, the public qua political "is part of an elaborate defense against the tug of the private, against the lure of the familial, against evocations of female power" (15-16). Offering an elaborate psychoanalytic account, Elshtain argues that women's exclusion from the political realm is constitutive:

Men fear the sexual and reproductive power of women. This is reflected in the lengths to which they have gone to protect themselves by projecting that fear toward outward social forms, by imbedding the need to defend themselves against women in institutions and activities, including those called 'political', historically inseparable from war-making….In this complex inner-outer dialectic, rejected or hostile feelings are expelled. Their embodiment in an external form is one way the male mind works unconsciously to denude images of women of much of their force—especially the image of the Mother. On the other hand, operating on a level that is both conscious and unconscious, is the conviction that women are weak and soft. Men define themselves by that which is 'not-woman', therefore not vulnerable. To fend off both the unconsciously embedded image of female power and the recognition of the 'weakness of woman' as that which one cannot accept in oneself, men have, over the years, created hard, external institutions of enormous power both as a match for the vision of the powerful Mother within and as a protection, a hedge against their own 'weak, female' self (142-143).

By framing her account of the inherent relation between the public and the private in psychoanalytic terms, Elshtain casts women's exclusion from public life in universal terms. Construing the public world as a defensive reaction against the powerful fears and attractions of the intimate and familial, she envisions an inherent antagonism driven by psychological forces unlikely to change. While such an explanation has the virtue of illuminating the enormity of the challenges women face in their efforts to degender the public sphere, it also has a number of drawbacks. In addition to the anachronism of reading more than two thousand years of political thought through a twentieth-century Freudian lens, Elshtain's confident assumption that works of political theory provide a reliable guide to the life worlds of specific cultures fails to take seriously that the Western canon is itself a product of nineteenth-century European efforts to systematize knowledge and reform the educational curriculum. What appears as universal explanation, then, may itself be the effect of a particular modernist analytic lens.

In a lucid critique of Elstain's argument, political theorist Mary Dietz (1985) raised important questions about the tacit liberal presuppositions in forming Public Man/Private Woman. Situating Elstain's work in the context of long-standing liberal efforts to defend the private against the state and against theorists who failed to prize the familial and the maternal, Dietz also suggested that Elshtain's argument turned on a reductive reading of Aristotelian concepts. Dietz acknowledged that it is not difficult to isolate certain Aristotelian claims that pit the private realm as a domain of "mere life" against the polis as the mechanism for pursuit of the "good life," structuring a dichotomy between the "realm of necessity" and the "realm of freedom." Within this oppositional frame, preserving mere life, the task of women and slaves, is undertaken in silence and obedience in a hierarchically structured order where propertied, male citizens occupy the pinnacle. Yet Dietz suggests that this reductive reading misses important Aristotelian insights into the relation between public and private, insights valuable to the feminist transformative project.

A more "generous reading" of Aristotle, according to Dietz, would emphasize that human existence involves complex practices and associations related to the production of necessities for survival and self-sufficiency, procreation, the creation of aesthetic objects and cultural rituals, the provision of common defense, and the creation of structures of decision making about collective concerns. All are integrally and teleologically connected. Within this teleological order, the public sphere takes precedence because it holds the potential to effect and reshape the other domains. As Dietz noted:

Politics is primary because all other human acts and occupations are examined in its light and made its subject matter…family life and privacy, social practices and economic issues are matters of political decision-making. Family practices, control over property, the rights of children, the nature of schooling and child labor laws, benefits for single mothers, the regulation of birth control…are potentially open to political control and may be politically determined. Even the decision to allow them to remain private… is ultimately political… The questions of who we are allowed to be and what rights we are allowed to exercise, even in the supposed sanctity of the family, have always been and will continue to be determined by political determinations (Dietz 1985, 28-29).

Rather than setting up a stark and unwavering opposition between public and private tethered to universal claims about male and female psyches, Dietz suggests that the specific contours of public and private are politically constituted. Moreover, politics affords the means to restructure these dimensions of social life. She also points out that in drawing a distinction between rulership (a relation of unequals) and politics (a relation among equals) Aristotle envisions a mode of deliberative decision-making through which women, once admitted to citizenship, could participate on equal terms with men. Extrapolating from this Aristotelian possibility, Dietz conceives public engagement as a means of feminist transformative practice. Through "public speeches and debates, organized movements with expressly political goals, and democratic activities…feminist citizens challenge the 'givens' and seek to revitalize democratic values with a view toward the generations of citizens to come" (Dietz 1985, 34). Rather than resign the public sphere to the perpetual grasp of defensive male egos, Dietz holds out the possibility that women could not only claim the public sphere but use it to restructure private relations.

Feminist historian Marilyn Lake (1998) suggests that the scenario sketched by Dietz be understood not only as a theoretical possibility but as an historical reality. Drawing upon the early twentieth-century experience of women's rights activists in Australia—one of the first nations to accord women citizenship, Lake points out that pioneering women citizens conceptualized the promise of citizenship in terms of self-possession and self-government. Drawing parallels between married women and prostitutes, they argued that economic dependence, whether on husbands or on men more generally, compelled women to sacrifice much of their self-respect. Thus they demanded economic independence to free women from such "degrading and tyrannical conditions." In particular, they fought for maternity allowances as early as 1912, noting that compensating mothers for their services was akin to paying men for military service (225). Later, they demanded "wages for wives," arguing that women were entitled to half their husbands' earnings. Women citizens also demanded that the state make good its promise of personal and bodily integrity, insulating married women from abusive practices in marriage, such as domestic violence and marital rape. Like Dietz, Lake suggests that politics afforded women citizens a means to reshape the private sphere, which they used to good advantage. While Australian men sought to "keep the state out of the domestic lives of citizens," it was precisely the domestic life of citizens that feminists sought to transform (236).

Many feminist historians share Dietz' concern to free conceptions of the public and private from the spell of the universal, noting that excessive generalization overstates the degree of differentiation between public and private in particular eras. Some point out that the family has often been a "public unit" in the sense that it is created and regulated by civil law as well as by religious codes and courts (Poole 1995; Vickery 1998). Others note that the public/private binary distorts the complexity of households in various epochs: the households of the elite have been domiciles, worksites, places of production and conspicuous consumption, sites of political intrigue and active state politics (Tillyard 1995; Smith 1998), while the domiciles of the poor have often afforded no privacy whatsoever. Moreover, within monarchical systems, the political was far less public than contemporary readers might imagine. Within feudal structures of authority, "lordship was something publicly represented…but it was not constituted as a social realm or public sphere; rather it was something like a status attribute" (Habermas 1989, Landes 1998b, 138). Feudal lords staged performances of authority, displaying themselves as embodiments of "higher power" before audiences of loyal subjects, but these performances coexisted with arbitrary and capricious exercises of sovereign will beyond any mundane mechanisms of accountability. For reasons such as these, Diane Willen has argued that "The very existence of two spheres, private and public at least in the modern sense, remains problematic for Tudor and early Stuart England" (1989, 155-6). Similarly, Kristen Poole (1995) and Amanda Vickery (1998) have suggested that the "spheres" for early modern women and men were so multiple and overlapping that the theory of "separate spheres" should be seriously reconsidered.

Inspired by the English translation of Habermas' The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere, which appeared in 1989, just such reconsideration has been underway, generating new hypotheses about the relation between women and the public sphere. Seeking both to theorize and historicize the public sphere, Habermas advanced a conception of the public quite distinct from ancient and feudal notions of governance and politics. Indeed, he argued that the public sphere is unique to bourgeois society, emerging in the context of innovations in social organization and communication networks of early modern territorial states. Urbanization, capitalist commerce, stock markets, the development of print and epistolary cultures, growing literacy, as well as new modes of state apparatus for taxation and policing of subject populations played central roles in the production of "the public." Appropriating aspects of Hegel's conception of civil society, Habermas links the public sphere to a dimension of social existence quite separate from the intimacy and familiarity of the private domain and from the increasingly impersonal authority of the state. Taking shape in the cultural institutions emerging with bourgeois life in cities, the public sphere involves a way of coming together in spaces like coffee houses, clubs, reading and language societies, libraries, concert halls, opera houses, theaters, lecture halls, and salons to discuss, debate, and deliberate. Fueled by the proliferation of novels, journals, commercial presses, and publishing companies, a literate public develops practices of critical reflection upon and engagement with contemporary issues. For Habermas, the bourgeois public sphere signifies the hitherto "private people" coming together as "a public" through the historically unprecedented use of their "public reason." Changing practices in policing, taxation, and the administration of justice abet the cultivation of the public sphere as interaction with the state stimulates the critical judgment of a public making use of its reason. Print culture fosters forms of interiority, self-reflection, and self-assertion characteristic of individualism at a moment when the commodification of culture enables a degree of adornment and self-fashioning once possible only for the nobility to devolve upon the middle classes. As economic power shifts from land to manufacture and trade, the new bourgeois public begins to challenge monarchy to advance the interests of the commercial economy.

Habermas argued that the bourgeois public sphere is governed by norms of rationality, equality, and publicity, although they are only imperfectly realized. Embracing norms of rational discourse, the bourgeois public asserts equality as a regulative ideal in the sense that the merits of the argument rather than the status of the speaker are supposed to determine outcomes. Adopting the stance of the universal, the bourgeoisie appeals to general, abstract, objective, and permanent norms, constructing a notion of "constitutional law," for example, which is said to be "public" and "universal" in application, admitting no status distinctions among citizens. Yet even as it advances claims to publicity, the bourgeois public exists largely as private individuals discoursing within private spaces. And despite claims to rationality and equality, class, gender, and race relations within bourgeois culture remain at great remove from egalitarian ideals.

Although Habermas acknowledged the failure of bourgeois culture to fully instantiate the norms of the public sphere, Joan Landes (1988, 1998b) has suggested that he did not take seriously enough the implications of this failure. Embracing the myth of imperfect realization, Habermas holds out the hope that rationality and equality, the ideals of the public sphere, could in principle escape the limitations of bourgeois culture and attain full realization. Landes, on the other hand, argues that closer examination of the gendered dimensions of the public sphere leave little reason to be sanguine about such a possibility.

On the basis of sustained investigation of women's experiences in liberal and republican politics in the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, Landes debunks the view that women's exclusion from the public sphere was simply the residual effect of traditional practices. Exclusion of women from the public was not

the accidental consequence of the lesser status of women in pre-liberal society, to be amended in a more democratic order. Rather, the resistance of enlightened liberal and democratic discourse to femininity was rooted in a symbolization of nature that promised to reverse the spoiled civilization of le monde where stylish women held sway, and to return to men the sovereign rights usurped by an absolutist monarch. Furthermore, when women during the French revolution and the nineteenth century attempted to organize in public on the basis of their interests, they risked violating the constitutive principles of the bourgeois public sphere: in place of one, they substituted the many; in place of disinterestedness, they revealed themselves to have an interest. Worse yet, women risked disrupting the gendered organization of nature, truth, and opinion that assigned them to a place in the private, domestic, but not public realm. Thus an idealization of the universal public conceals the way in which women's (legal and constitutional) exclusion from the public sphere was a constitutive, not a marginal or accidental feature of the bourgeois public from the start" (Landes 1998b, 143).

Contrary to the facile assumption that women experienced unwavering subordination prior to the nineteenth century, Landes demonstrates that "eighteenth century marked a turning point for women in the construction of modern gender identity: public-private oppositions were being reinforced in ways that foreclosed women's earlier independence in the street, in the marketplace, and, for elite women, in the public spaces of the court and aristocratic household" (1988, 22). Landes suggests that anti-monarchist sentiment blended a virulent animosity against the aristocracy with an equally potent distaste for "public women"—both the elite women in salon society ("le monde") and the militant women who founded the Society of Revolutionary Republican Women and harnessed republican rhetoric to demands for "free womanhood" and the rights of citoyennes. Within male republican circles, this combination of animosities gave rise to trenchant critiques of the ancien régime and of women's political activism. The male republican political agenda encompassed not only the revolutionary overthrow of the monarchy but the domestication of women, and both projects played a central role in their theorizing.

Landes points out that Montesquieu was the first to advance a proposal for the domestication of women in the Spirit of Laws. His rationale was simply put: to avoid the effeminacy of men imposed by absolute monarchy and the corruptions of "unnatural women" in salons, the republic must domesticate women. "The forward march of civilization, he cautions, requires the domestication of women; in a more advanced society women will be sure to occupy their proper place. The domestic woman is accommodated to her new surroundings, her narcissistic vanity and licentious use of freedom are curbed, and her nature, like that of a domesticated animal, is made to fit a depoliticized domestic environment… Private virtue within the male-defined, restricted family, Montesquieu hopes, will provide the foundation for a patriotic and virile political constitution" (Landes 1988, 38). Montesquieu was not alone in linking critiques of feminized courtiers, diseased aristocrats, and extravagantly powerful women. On the contrary, this potent cluster of negative associations became embedded in republican discourses on both sides of the Atlantic.

Although men held the preponderance of power within feudal aristocracies, a peculiarly gendered discourse associating corruption with women's rule circulated widely among republican reformers in the British colonies in North America as well as in France, providing a rationale for the exclusion of women from rights of citizenship (Anderson 2000, Offen 2000). Republican political theorists and practitioners actively sought to create an exclusively male political assembly, "free from women's corrupting influence." Rousseau developed the theoretical argument, which was enacted first by American revolutionaries and subsequently by French revolutionaries.

Despite his claim in The Social Contract (1762) that the only legitimate political system is one that promotes liberty and equality, Rousseau afforded women no place among the citizenry in his proposed democratic polity. Instead, he characterized women as a threat to the political order. "Never has a people perished from an excess of wine; all perish from the disorder of women" (Rousseau [1758] 1960, 109). Rather than fostering women's liberty on equal terms with men, Rousseau cultivated the ideology of "republican motherhood,"[2] insisting that women's contribution to democratic politics lies in childbearing and childrearing. Only when restricted to the home, could women develop the "natural morality" requisite to the nurturance of future citizens.

When designing their constitutions in the aftermath of the American Revolution, twelve of the original states forming the United States followed Rousseau in excluding women from the rights of citizenship,[3] setting a precedent in "nation-building," which has been widely replicated around the globe. Despite women's critical contributions to the revolutionary struggle against Great Britain, at the moment of victory, women were excluded from participation in the design of political institutions and from equal participation within those institutions. The only reference to women in the Federalist Papers, the newspaper articles written to explain and justify the provisions of the U.S. Constitution, involves a discussion of the "dangers posed to the safety of the state by the intrigues of courtesans and mistresses.”

The cryptic reference to political dangers posed by women reflects the transnational circulation of misogynous discourses among "revolutionary" men who characterized themselves as proponents of human liberty. Coupling flagrant abuses during the reign of Russia's Catherine the Great (1762-1796) with depraved sexual mores associated with life at French court, some male reformers on both sides of the Atlantic began castigating women for the evils of monarchical rule. In the context of the French revolution, for example, the radical republican journalist Louis-Marie Prudhomme "invoked the bad effects of women's intrigues during the monarchies of Louis XV and Louis XVI as an argument against women's inclusion in the nation" (Offen 2000, 58). Alleging that "The reign of courtesans precipitated the nation's ruin; the empire of queens consummated it," Prudhomme (1791) argued against the extension of full rights of citizenship to women, a demand pressed forcefully by Olympe de Gouges and Condorcet. Following the tradition set by the American revolutionaries, the French National Assembly voted not only to exclude women from rights of citizenship, but in 1793 voted to ban women's participation in political clubs and to prohibit the existence of popular women's associations, effectively foreclosing all avenues of women's political participation (Landes 1988, 144-146; Offen 2000, 61-63).

The gender inequalities enshrined in the laws of new "republics" exacerbated inequalities entrenched in custom and tradition (Smart 1992). Feudal and colonial hierarchies were grounded in class, family ties, nationality, gender, and race. Although the republican revolutionaries claimed to break with such feudal hierarchies, the constitutions created within the first "liberal republics" replicated and strengthened hierarchies tied to gender, race, and class, by denying equal citizenship and rights of political participation to women, blacks, and those without property. Women who loudly protested the imposition of de jure gender inequality were dealt with harshly. Indeed, Olympe de Gouges, active participant in the French revolution and author of Déclaration des droits de la femme (Declaration of the Rights of Woman, 1791), was sent to the guillotine by her fellow revolutionaries. Even after the failure of the first French republic, exclusionary practices were carried forward. In 1804 the Code Napoleon, later imposed on much of Europe, classified women as "incapacitated" and excluded them, along with children, convicted criminals, and the insane, from political life. Indeed, the Napoleonic Code deprived women of rights to perform as civil witnesses, to plead in court in their own names, or to own property without their husband's consent.

By excluding women from full citizenship, male law makers used the law as a means to produce not only sex-segregated political spaces, but to reshape gender identities within the confines of emerging conceptions of "separate spheres." Asserting that men and women have different "natures," proponents of the emerging gender ideology insisted that men and women be assigned to sex-segregated social and economic roles for their own happiness, as well as for the good of society. Indeed, French aristocrat, revolutionary, and diplomat, Talleyrand (1754-1838), who assisted in writing the Declaration of the Rights of Man, went on to persuade the French National Assembly that women's "share should be uniquely domestic happiness and the duties of the household." In his "Report on Public Instruction" (1791) presented to the Assembly on behalf of the Committee on the Constitution, Talleyrand argued that "in accordance with the will of nature," women should renounce political rights in order to ensure their happiness and their long-term protection (Offen 2000, 59).[4]

Contrary to the popular notion that this gender ideology simply reflected tradition and customary practice, a new form of biological determinism, suggesting that sex has a profound influence upon the operations of the human mind, was espoused by philosophers, political revolutionaries, and men of science in the late eighteenth century (Laqueur 1990). The new "domestic model of womanhood," which assigned women to the home and reframed her political work as mothering, profoundly reshaped the terms of political discourse. Indeed the ideology of republican womanhood infiltrated even the arguments of proponents of women's rights. Mary Wollstonecraft, for example, begins her Vindication of the Rights of Woman (1792) railing against pernicious conceptions of femininity associated with the aristocracy, which reduced women to idleness, loose morals, vacant minds, and sexual intrigues. But in staking her ground against aristocratic norms and values, she accepted republican terms of discourse, arguing for women's access to education, the professions, and political rights so that they could be better mothers and more intelligent companions in marriage. Where Christine de Pizan (1405) had roundly rejected male efforts to define women in terms of their reproductive capacity, nearly four centuries later, Wollstonecraft incorporated the premises of republican motherhood within her argument for women's rights. Taking issue with systematic constraints upon women advocated by Rousseau and Talleyrand, Wollstonecraft demanded educational and political opportunities for women, but she did so within the parameters set by an emergent gender ideology which conceived women first and foremost as mothers. Keenly aware of the injustice of the prohibitions against women's political participation and of the damage done by denigrations of women's intellectual abilities, Wollstonecraft extended the republican arguments for liberty and equality to women, and she made a case for co-education as essential to the promotion of gender equality, but she accepted republican claims that "the rearing of children, that is, the laying a foundation of sound health both of body and mind in the rising generation, has justly been insisted on as the peculiar destination of women" (1792 [1975], 189).

In contrast to Habermas' optimism about the egalitarian potential of the bourgeois public sphere, the research of feminist historians over the past two decades suggests that the public sphere made gender socially relevant in a way that it had not mattered formerly. Under feudal monarchy, masculinity carried some privileges, but they were not vast. Under ordinary circumstances class status trumped sex in determining a person's life prospects. Within the emerging republics, however, "sexual difference" was written into law. At just the moment that bourgeois claims to universality raised hopes for the elimination of all social distinctions before the law, gender discrimination was encoded into the founding constitutions of "free nations." Thus Joan Landes has argued that the republic's most important legacy was the cultural inscription of gender in social life. As an emerging national form, "the Republic was constructed against women, not just without them" (1988, 171). Similarly, historian Claire Moses has pointed out that "Women had been reduced to the status of a legal caste at the same time that the ancient regime legal class system was abolished for men. Women's status had worsened, if not in absolute, then in relative terms. The code would serve as a rallying point for feminist protest not only because it discriminated against women but also because it intensified women's sense of sex identification" (1984, 18).

In unearthing the specific historical mechanisms by which women were barred from public life in the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, feminist historians help explain why it has been so difficult for women to deploy the rhetoric of reason and equality on their own behalf. Whether constructing women as inherently domestic, morally superior, or saturated by sex, the men who theorized and enacted the bourgeois public sphere intentionally relegated women to the constitutive outside. From the outset, then, bourgeois domesticity was inherently political even as the private sphere was proclaimed pre-political and "protected" from the intrusions of state power. By situating women in a domain beyond the reach of the state and barring them from public speech and political participation, the public sphere naturalized women's subordination, allowing the rhetoric of republican motherhood and separate spheres to mask the explicit acts of men that produced the subordination.

In keeping with Habermas' account of "multiple publics," historian Leonore Davidoff (1998) has pointed out that women were effectively excluded from all of them over the course of the nineteenth century. They were barred not only from coffee houses, political clubs and associations, and legislative assemblies, but also from educational institutions, the professions, the practice of science, and the worlds of art and cultural production. By 1850, women were excluded from the leadership of unions. And although poor women always worked outside the home, repeated efforts were launched in the nineteenth century to bar women from factories, mines, and other skilled crafts. As feminist labor historians have demonstrated, the invention of the "male breadwinner" and the quest for a "family wage" were well orchestrated attempts to mask the pronounced presence of women in the industrial labor force and to remove women from desperately needed waged labor (Anderson 2000, Landes 1988, Offen 2000). Defining women by their familial relationships, placing them under the legal guardianship of men, and denying them the right to enter into contracts, effectively precluded women from selling their labor freely in the marketplace. Bourgeois law produced homo economicus as an exclusively male identity.

In a similar vein, political theorist Carole Pateman has traced the means by which nascent welfare states constructed (white) "male independence" as the criterion for public citizenship, while simultaneously making it impossible for women to meet that criterion. She suggests "three elements of 'independence' … related to the masculine capacity for self-protection: the capacity to bear arms, the capacity to own property and the capacity for self-government," have all been created by state action (Pateman 1998, 248). States have used mandatory male military service, conscription, and militia duty as means to construct men as "bearers of arms." Women, on the other hand, have been "unilaterally disarmed," barred from military service and from combat duty, as men have been assigned responsibility for the "protection of women and children." Through laws governing freedom of contract, states have created the most fundamental property owned by "free men," the property in their own person and in their labor power. By constructing women as the property of their fathers or husbands, states have denied women the right to freely contract their labor. By structuring marriage laws to guarantee men perpetual sexual access to their wives, states have denied married women autonomous ownership of their bodies. Moreover, by creating the category "head-of-household" and restricting it to men, states created men's capacity for governance, not only of themselves but of their "dependents." Pateman points out that census classifications in Britain and Australia officially recognized the male worker as "breadwinner" and his wife as his "dependent," regardless of her contributions to household subsistence and income. Between 1851 and 1911 in Britain, and in 1891 in Australia, women's domestic labor was reclassified from a form of productive activity to a mode of dependency. This reclassification was coupled with efforts to remove married women from the paid labor market on the belief that women workers depressed men's wages. The campaign for a "family wage" paid to the male "breadwinner"—actively promoted by the trade union movement—enshrined the principle of unequal pay for women in law, as it simultaneously masked women's presence in the industrial and agricultural labor force.[5] Thus the state created and reinforced women's identity as "dependent" directly and indirectly, even as it used dependency to legitimate women's exclusion from political life. Defined by the state as dependent, regardless of their actual earnings or wealth, women were declared "trespassers into the public edifice of civil society and the state" (Pateman 1998, 248).

In stark contrast to the implication of Habermas' incomplete realization thesis, women's exclusion from the public sphere was neither a temporary oversight nor an easily rectified mistake. It was an intentional policy that was enacted with a vengeance over the course of the nineteenth century. The intensive hostility against women's efforts to secure equal rights takes on new meaning when the gendered dimensions of "public reason" are unmasked. As Lenore Davidoff has noted, "Women acting as a group in their own interests have been met with particular virulence. The reaction points to the outrage felt at the putative disloyalty perceived in those women who sought individual autonomy, as if there was something almost obscene in the feminine guardians of morality and status boundaries presuming to take part in the political domain as individuals." (1998, 184).

When feminists identify the division between the private and public spheres as a political problem, then, they are suggesting more than that the artificial entrenchment of that binary within liberal theory is problematic. They are seeking to publicize the fact that the liberal state and the social democratic welfare state, much like their authoritarian counterparts, have been complicitous in creating a private domain as part of a masculinist political agenda. Moreover, they want to insist that the allegedly private sphere performs multiple political functions, most important of which is the perpetuation of gender subordination. By incorporating an unequal conception of gendered citizenship at the heart of liberal and social democratic polities, the public world of men relegates women to a shadow world, which continues to restrict their fate despite constitutional guarantees of equality before the law. In the words of Carole Pateman, the gendered conception of citizenship embedded in contemporary states ensures that "citizenship can only be extended to women as lesser men. To demand recognition of women's unique contributions (reproductive labor and care work) is to condemn women to less than full citizenship and to continued incorporation into public life as "women," that is, as members of another sphere who cannot earn the respect of their fellow (male) citizens" (1998, 261). If women as well as men are to be full citizens, the public and private spheres must not only be reconfigured, but women must play an equal role in the reconfiguration. The power to draw the line between public and private is precisely what is at stake (Fraser 1998).

To the extent that feminist scholars construe the constitutive exclusion of women from the public sphere as an intentional effect of republican, liberal, and social welfare state policies, change remains an open possibility. Recognizing that women's exclusion was intentional, rather than natural or a mere continuation of traditional practices, however, is a critical precondition for change, precisely because this recognition defuses arguments that support women's continuing exclusion. While few feminist theorists or activists minimize the enormity of the transformative challenge, many insist that strategies such as gender quotas and reservation policies, gender mainstreaming, the formation of feminist "counterpublics," mobilizing women as voting blocs, and creating civil society mechanisms to hold governments accountable offer viable democratic means for long-term transformation of the public.[6] Some feminist scholars working in a Foucauldian frame, however, are less sanguine about such transformative prospects.

In developing his conception of biopower, French poststructuralist theorist Michel Foucault sought to illuminate the mechanisms by which particular modes of subjectivity are produced. Tracing the intended and unintended consequences of state efforts not only to regulate the conduct of individuals but also to manage whole populations, Foucault mapped the means by which disciplinary mechanisms produce self-regulating subjects—subjects whose desires and interests have themselves been shaped by practices of individualization and normalization. Operating through schools, hospitals, mental health clinics, therapeutic practices, court proceedings, military training, public health measures, prisons, and everyday surveillance, biopower involves "an explosion of numerous and diverse techniques for achieving the subjugations of bodies and the control of populations" (Foucault, 1978, 140). Emphasizing the "protection of life" rather than the threat of death, biopower produces a discursive regime that obliterates classical boundaries between public (polis) and private (oikos/household), as the state undertakes the regulation of health, sexuality, bodies, dispositions, and desires as part of its legitimate terrain. While legitimating a vast expansion of the reach of the state, biopower's discursive "regime of rights" masks this extension of power as it produces disciplined subjects who believe themselves to be self-regulating or "free." Granting rights is the mechanism by which a particular conception of "natural life" is inscribed into the juridico-political order (Foucault 1977; Agamben 1995, Brown 1995). Moreover, the "political technology" of biopower produces individual identities—resisting identities according to Foucault, but identities also invested in particular orders of desire. The technologies of domination, which produce the categories used to normalize and individuate, are thoroughly enmeshed with the technologies of the self, which produce the individual's belief in the "truth" of his/her being. As Foucault argued in the History of Sexuality, since the late nineteenth century, this "truth" has been deeply imbricated in discourses of sexuality.

Focusing on the gendered dimensions of biopower, some feminist scholars have shifted focus from the surface tensions and internal contradictions of public/private binary to investigating how the public/private as a discursive mechanism is deployed to produce particular modes of life which citizen/subjects both resist and embrace.[7] Within this frame, discourses on republican motherhood, Mussolini's fascist Codice Rocco,[8] recent pronatalist policies in nations as diverse as Japan, Russia, and Sweden, and recent legislation to ban abortions in U.S. states such as South Dakota and Louisiana have a great deal in common. They place the "rights of the race-nation" into the womb of the woman citizen by according the state a legitimate interest in mandating reproduction.[9] The criminalization of abortion and birth control are justified as means both to protect life and to preserve the nation. Pronatalist and anti-abortion legislation not only politicize reproductive behavior, but also assert "the biological rights of the collective." Within the wombs of citizens, "crimes against the biological collective" occur (Miller 2007, 362). Indeed, because the only crimes that a citizen could commit against the biological collective involve contraception and abortion, women alone can pose this threat to the race-nation; hence the state's rationale for policing women's reproductive practices.

As Ruth Miller (2007) has pointed out, when reproduction is defined as women's political duty and motherhood is conflated with women's citizenship, more is produced than pronatalist and anti-abortion policies. Biopower simultaneously produces women citizens invested in mothering, and men and women citizens invested in normalizing heterosexuality. The biopolitical constitution of women's reproductive citizenship, then, supports growing consensus that the state has a "compelling interest" in prohibiting abortion from the moment of "viability." The protection of biological life and its needs become politically decisive as privacy concerns and restrictions on women's reproductive freedom are swamped by discursive constructions of "natural" "moral" imperatives. Nature is invoked not only to legitimate women citizens' reproductive responsibility, but heterosexuality more generally. Thus the Defense of Marriage Act, efforts to use the law to define a family exclusively in terms of heterosexual couple, promotion of heterosexual marriage as part of welfare "reform" can be understood as more than the emergence of fundamentalist Christianity as a political force in the United States. It is evidence of biopower's linkage of sexuality, reproduction and citizenship, constructing the womb not only as a setting for political debate, but as a site for political intervention. Operating through anti-abortion and anti-contraception legislation, constitutional amendments to ban gay marriage, statutes prohibiting gay adoption, and welfare policies that penalize out-of-wedlock births and promote marriage, biopower expels the liberal chimera of the private domain beyond the reach of the state, replacing it with explicit recognition that the family is a political entity and reproduction is a social and political relation.

Situating women's citizenship within the operations of biopower reveals additional dimensions of gendered inequality that cut across republican, parliamentary, and authoritarian regimes. Within contemporary political systems, political and legal "equality" coexists with distinct male and female modes of citizenship that authorize regulation of women's bodies for "the common good." In contrast to liberal notions of distinct demarcation between public and private realms, public and private interpenetrate within the purview of biopower as women's bodies are made the property of the biological collective. In contrast to neoliberalism's relentless pressure toward privatization, women's reproductive organs are "publicized," claimed as legitimate targets of public regulation and concern. That women are guaranteed legal equality even as they are increasingly regulated and marginalized becomes less paradoxical, when the historical emergence of biopower is taken into account. As Ruth Miller has noted:

It was precisely the moment at which women acquired the right to a public or political persona that they were likewise categorized above all as sexual units. As an increasingly rational and codified legislation defined and re-defined the modern citizen-state relationship, women citizens were classified according to their sexual identity, whereas men citizens, the norm, were effectively detached from theirs. The result was a strange inversion of the public/private distinction so fundamental to liberal notions of appropriate governance. Women—idealized as the overseers of the private, domestic space—ceased to have any but a public role, with every private aspect of their lives displayed and regulated for the sake of the common good. Men, contrarily—idealized as public actors—maintained private sexuality, politically non-existent except in defined, [homosexual or racial] circumstances (2007, 367).

Within the operations of biopower, women's citizenship is inherently sexualized,[10] tied to a politicized reproductive agenda and the intimate political intrusions that entails. That many women in the twenty-first century, as in the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, construe their central purpose in life in terms of mothering and embrace the norms of patriotic reproductive behavior is a predictable effect of biopower. Within these naturalized circuits, women citizens enter the public sphere on markedly different terms than their male counterparts. They are public, in the sense that they are subjects of collective concern and interest, subject to regulation in the collective interest, and sorely lacking in the beneficial aspects of privacy.[11] As long as women embrace rather than resist this public mode of subjectivation, feminist analyses of the "public" must continue to include critical interrogation of the subjectivities produced in and through biopower, as well as identification of strategic mechanisms to foster resistance and to undermine political control of women's reproductive capacities. For the tactics needed to contest public identities constituted through the lure of the familial go well beyond incorporation of women into the public sphere.

Scholars studying nationalism within traditional disciplines have manifested a profound tendency to treat sex as a biological or physical characteristic rather than as a political construct. According to this "primordial view" (Taylor 1996), sex precedes politics. As part of the "natural" or "given" aspects of human existence, sex is assumed to be apolitical. Although closely tied to particular social roles and responsibilities, the effect of sex upon politics and upon distributions of power, privilege and opportunity seldom seems worthy of empirical investigation. Traditional assumptions about the public as a male domain and the private as the realm of women help naturalize these complex social relations, removing them from the sphere of scholarly investigations and from the range of the perceptible. As the astute feminist analyses discussed in this paper indicate, however, processes of naturalization serve only to mask the operations of power in the contemporary world. If the intricacies of nationalist transformations are to be comprehended and assessed, then researchers can no longer afford to neglect gender dynamics, especially in a world where women comprise the majority of citizens and the majority of voters.


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  1. To suggest that phenomena as diverse as assumptions, concepts, beliefs, arguments, theories, methods, laws, policies, and institutions may be 'gendered' is to note that they may tacitly or explicitly privilege one gender at the expense of the other. In principle, a gendered practice could privilege men or women. But the history of male-dominance has resulted in systematic male power advantages across diverse social domains. Feminist usage of the adjective, 'gendered,' reflects this male power advantage. Hence a gendered practice is synonymous with androcentic practice in common feminist terminology. This equation also draws upon linguistic terms which characterize the male as unmarked/universal and the female as marked/other. Within this framework, the allegedly neutral and inclusive term, gender, reflects the universal/male norm. Social practices may be gendered in diverse ways. Exclusionary practices which bar women from participation lie at the most overt end of a gendered spectrum. But practices which are officially 'gender-blind,' 'gender-neutral,' or 'equal opportunity' may also be gendered if they are rooted in experiences typically associated with men but not with women or if certain factors make it more difficult for women than for men to achieve the same outcome by following the same procedures.

  2. In Emile ([1762] 1955, 332), Rousseau envisioned an educational program to train women "to bear the yoke from the first, so that they may not feel it, to master their own caprices and to submit themselves to the will of others." Indeed he insists that "The education of women should be always relative to the men. To please, to be useful to us, to make us love and esteem them, to educate us when young, and take care of us when grown up, to advise, to console us, to render our lives easy and agreeable; these are the duties of women at all times, and what they should be taught in their infancy" (328). Rousseau's educational prescriptions are instructive because they ingeniously display the means by which gender differences can be created and inculcated in a species in which individuals have unlimited potential and malleable characters. Perhaps what is most remarkable about Rousseau's recommendations for the training of women are the precise mechanics he identifies for the production of docile, good natured, self-sacrificing creatures: "Girls must be subjected all their lives to the most constant and severe restraint, which is that of decorum: it is therefore necessary to accustom them early to such confinement, that it may not afterwards cost them too dear; and to the suppression of their caprices, that they may the more readily submit to the will of others. If, indeed, they are fond of being always at work, they should be sometimes compelled to lay it aside... Deny them not the indulgence of their innocent mirth, their sports and pastimes; but ever prevent their sating themselves with one to run to another; permit them not for a moment to perceive themselves entirely freed from restraint. Use them to be interrupted in the midst of their play, and sent to work, without murmuring. Habit alone is sufficient to inure them to this, because it is only affirming the operations of nature" (333). Surveillance, discipline to ensure conformity, continual interruptions and distractions, frivolous commands, and rigid control are the key to women's successful socialization. When indulged systematically, they will produce a woman of excellent character. For a discussion of the rise of "republican motherhood" in the U.S. following the American Revolution, see Kerber 1980.

  3. Reflecting Quaker influence, New Jersey's first constitution awarded voting rights to single women who owned property. This right was rescinded in 1807. For a discussion of the politics behind women's enfranchisement and subsequent disenfranchisement, see Apter Klinghoffer and Elkis 1992.

  4. It is worth noting the irony that this proposal for women's withdrawal from the public sphere bears striking resemblance to contemporary Islamist doctrines. As Farhat Haq (2007, 5) has pointed out: The Muslim ummah (political community) imagined by the Islamists gives women a vital role in formulating the Muslim polity precisely because they are to willfully absent themselves from the public arena in order to validate the difference between a Muslim and non-Muslim polity. The most influential formulation of this gendered Islamic polity is presented by Maududi (1903-1979), and the Jammat-i-Islami, the religio-political movement founded in South Asia. Maududi's reasoning is markedly similar to that of the 18th century republicans. In his major opus, Purdah, which was first published in 1938 and has been widely translated since, Maududi asserts that "there is a fundamental difference in the nature of men and women. Any attempt at creating a just social and political system must take these differences in to account" (Haq 2007, 6). Indeed Maududi links the rise of civilization to the proper recognition of natural gender difference and predicts the fall of civilization if gender differences are ignored, an argument first advanced by bourgeois social Darwinists. For an elaboration of these gendered and raced civilizational discourses in the nineteenth century, see Newman 1999.

  5. Pateman points out that the pronounced gap between rhetoric and reality in this campaign. In 1912, 45% of the male workers in Australia were single, yet they were paid the family wage; while women workers, one-third of whom were supporting dependents, were paid 46-50% less than male wages on the myth that they were not breadwinners.

  6. For an overview of feminist transformative efforts, see Antrobus 2004, Hawkesworth 2006, Moghadam 2005, Naples and Desai 2002, and Petchesky 2003.

  7. For this analysis, I am indebted to Ruth Miller's insights in "Rights, Reproduction, Sexuality, and Citizenship in the Ottoman Empire and Turkey." Although her essay focuses primarily on citizenship in Turkey, I have extrapolated from her arguments to develop these more general claims about the effects of biopower.

  8. Ruth Miller (2007) points out that Mussolini's Codice Rocco includes an article on "Crimes against the Integrity and Health of the Race" that located the integrity of the "race" in Italian women's wombs and lodged responsibility for "protecting" those wombs from contraception or abortion with the fascist state.

  9. It is important to note that nationalist pronatalist policies are always racialized. Whether the form of racism involves attacks on Jews, Blacks, Roma, or members of particular ethnic groups, some citizens are encouraged or required to reproduce, while others are restricted or prohibited from reproducing, or as in the case of genocide, annihilated. To foreground this connection between nationalism and racism, Jackie Stevens (1999) coined the term "race-nation."

  10. One might also analyze decriminalization and legalization of prostitution, as well as the involvement of state actors in sexual trafficking in the context of biopower. Within this frame, it is possible to develop quite different interpretations of the recent debate in Germany about including prostitution (recently legalized) among the employment options offered to women through state agencies. Rather than an egregious violation of personal integrity, requiring women to accept jobs as prostitutes is perfectly consistent with biopower's construction of the sexualized woman citizen.

  11. Working within a very different intellectual tradition, Anita Allen developed an argument for women's needs for the beneficial aspects of privacy in Uneasy Access: Privacy for Women in a Free Society (Rowman and Littlefield 1988).

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