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Introduction: Why Feminism?.
1. Generations of Feminism.
2. Gender to Queer, and Back Again.
3. Genes and Gender: The Return to Darwin.
4. Psychic Life and its Scandals.
5. Gender Anxieties at the Limits of Psychology.
6. Cautionary Tales: Between Freud and Feminism.
7. Only Contradictions on Offer: Feminism at the Millennium.
Lynne Segal is Professor of Psychology and Gender Studies at Birkbeck College, University of London.
'Why Feminism? remakes the case for a dynamic feminism that
rejects pessimism and becomes once again a "movement of
transformation", able to liberate both sexes from the tyrannies of
labour, of fear and, of course, gender. She looks at younger women
struggling to Have It All, and the fears daily expressed for and
about men and boys, and believes she just might have a few
suggestions. It's a grim comment on the times that so few powerful
people want to know.' The Guardian
'Her thesis is immediately engaging in its refusal to apply
itself to the red herrings: Is feminism still relevant? Are men in
crisis? Is feminism dead? Who cares? ... We've become used to texts
that are saturated with easy-access pop-cultural reference points.
But Segal is good at asking the right questions of the right people
... it's liberating to read a book that makes no apology for
dignifying the Women Question with a serious academic inquiry.'
'Lynne Segal is one of the most capacious readers of feminism
and sexuality studies I have ever encountered. Rooted in a
socialist feminism and open to new theory, she brings forward the
best of the former tradition and sets it into a dynamic and
provocative dialogue with contemporary scholarship and activism,
including psychoanalysis in both its social and clinical
dimensions. Her writing is marvellously clear, to the point, and
trenchant. And she brings us all into a critical conversation that
we sometimes did not know we could have. The passion, intelligence,
and intellectual candour of this book are exemplary.' Judith
Butler, Maxine Elliot Professor of Rhetoric and Comparative
Literature, University of California at Berkeley
'Lynne Segal brings her unique capacity for clarity and wit,
along with her courage of the intellect, to bear on the key paradox
faced by feminists: how to hold on to what being a woman means,
while contesting the cultural and social meanings given to
'femininity'. This is a book which travels between disciplines with
remarkable erudition, providing concise and intelligent accounts of
the context of debates in women's studies, queer theory,
sociobiology, psychoanalysis and psychology. It is as illuminating
on genetics as it is on gender.' Sheila Rowbotham, University
Research Fellow in Sociology, Manchester University
'In this provocative history of the changing face and fortunes
of feminism since the 1970s, Lynne Segal gives us a vivid account
both of feminist debate and its increasingly conservative context.
Rejecting the dualistic thinking which pits activism against
theory, Segal argues persuasively both for the reinvigoration of
feminism's political will and its continuing exploration of
subjectivity and difference.' Cora Kaplan, University of
'An ambitious and timely assessment of the shifts in feminist
thinking over the last half century, taking in queer theory,
post-structuralism, and psychotherapy. She rocks.' Libby Brooks,
'She writes in an engaging and accessible manner, and I enjoyed
reading this book.' The Psychologist
'In a strong argument for socialist feminism, Lynne Segal
engages with an impressive breadth of literature and analyses
inter- and intradisciplinary debates encompassing biology,
sociology, psychology, psychoanalysis, as well as gender, feminist
and queer theory ... Her wide-ranging, clear and incisive accounts
of theoretical developments are always to be welcomed and provide
an indispensable guide to diverse strands of feminist thought.'
Journal of European Area Studies
'How very useful her book will be to those who want to
learn about the debates as they have developed and continue. It is
extraordinarily knowledgeable.' Radical Philosophy
'It provides an excellent introduction (and more) to what are
arguably the most important debates and practices relating to
gender across, within and between the global, national, local,
interpersonal and intraperson 'levels' at the present time.'
'Segal's book provides an engaging discussion of the historical and contemporary issues for feminist activism and for general feminist scholarship.' Feminism & Psychology