© 2010

Feminist Theory in Pursuit of the Public

Women and the “Re-Privatization” of Labor

  • Authors

Part of the Education, Politics, and Public Life book series (EPPL)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-vii
  2. Robin Truth Goodman
    Pages 1-14
  3. Robin Truth Goodman
    Pages 15-49
  4. Robin Truth Goodman
    Pages 159-192
  5. Robin Truth Goodman
    Pages 193-197
  6. Back Matter
    Pages 199-263

About this book


Feminist Theory in Pursuit of the Public argues that feminism needs to develop a theory of the public. It responds to a moment when feminism's impetus to reconstitute the private sphere left a huge gap in its political thinking on the public. This inattention to the public is particularly worrisome now when the nation-state and its publics seem to have diminishing power and compromised democratic agency. The waning of power in the public sphere diminishes the influence that citizens can have in deciding on the conditions of life, and therefore minimizes the changes that feminists can envision or enact in the social field to work towards equality, access, deliberation, participation, just distribution, rights, and authority for women.


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About the authors

Robin Truth Goodman is Professor of English at Florida State University, USA.

Bibliographic information


'An exciting and provocative new book. This is a first-rate contribution to feminist and critical social theory.' - Drucilla K. Barker, Professor and Director of Women's and Gender Studies, University of South Carolina, USA

'A stunning achievement. This is a ground-breaking analysis of the complex, gendered relations between private and public domains as they have emerged in three stages: from the age of industrial labor, to the welfare state, to the current neoliberal agenda. Goodman demonstrates how the 're-privatization' of women's labor in global markets now serves as a justification for eliminating all forms of public regulation, oversight, and social justice. By refusing to collapse the distinction between private and public, Goodman develops a compelling new theory of a participatory public sphere revitalized by private autonomy and critique.' - David B. Downing, Professor of English and Director of the Graduate Programs in Literature and Criticism, Indiana University of Pennsylvania and editor of Works and Days