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By Seyla Benhabib, Drucilla Cornell

At the politics of gender

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Extra resources for Feminism As Critique: On the Politics of Gender (Exxon Lecture Series)

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In other words, the failures in Marx's theory which result from his attraction to a narrow interpretation of "materialism" might have been alleviated had he paid more attention to the activity of childrearing. 13 Alternatively, he occasionally treats changes in the organization of such activities as historical effects of changes in productive relations. 14 This is evidenced also in a letter to P. V. "15 Here again, such tendencies in Marx can be explained by looking to the role and ideology of the family in an industrial society.

The separation of a specialized (official) economic system enhances a society's capacity to deal with its natural and social environment. " But if childrearing could not be nonpathologically incorporated into the (official) economic system, and if the (official) economic system could not be nonregressively dedifferentiated, then the continued separation of childrearing from paid work would be required. Now this amounts to a defense of one aspect of what feminists call "the separation of public and private," namely, the separation of the official economic sphere from the domestic sphere and the enclaving of childrearing from the rest of social labor.

As Carole Pateman puts it, it is not that women are absent from the paid workplace; it's rather that they are present differently 27 - for example, as feminized and sometimes sexualized "service" workers (secretaries, domestic workers, salespersons, prostitutes and more recently, flight attendants); as members of the "helping professions" utilizing mothering skills (nurses, social workers, childcare workers, primary school teachers); as targets of sexual harassment; as low-waged, low-skilled, lowstatus workers in sex-segregated occupations; as part-time workers; as workers who work a double shift (both unpaid domestic labor and paid What's Critical about Critical Theory?

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