Feminist Legal Studies

, Volume 12, Issue 1, pp 29–65

Shock to Thought: An Encounter (of a Third Kind) with Legal Feminism

  • Anne Bottomley


This paper takes a recently published text and, in examining it closely, argues that it exemplifies trends within feminist scholarship in law, which might be characterised asestablishing a form of orthodoxy. The paper explores some of the ways in which thiso rthodoxy is constructed and presented, and argues that it is characterised by a commitment both to `grand theory' and Hegelian dialectics. The adoption of this model of work seems to offer a chance to hold together the triangular figure of women/theory/law reform. The paper will argue that, whilst this model is clearly a valid choice, and attractive to feminist scholars in the promise it seems to hold, the model is not to be presumed but rather should be examined and considered in terms of its potential for feminist scholarship. Both within its own terms, and as part of the construction of an orthodoxy, the paper will argue that it is in fact problematic and that feminist scholarship would be better served by seeking an alternative theoretical model. An alternative is suggested, using the work of Deleuze, but it is acknowledged that this will require the acceptance of a very different theoretical configuration from that suggested by the triangular model of women/theory/lawreform.

Badiou Deleuze dialectics difference legal feminism orthodoxy politics 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anne Bottomley
    • 1
  1. 1.Kent Law SchoolUniversity of KentCanterburyUK

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