Advertisement

Images of Intimacy in Feminist Discussions over Private/Public Boundaries

  • Pauline Johnson

Abstract

When in the late 1970s Foucault announced that “freedom in the liberal regime is not a ready-made region which has to be respected… [i]t is something that has to be constantly produced” (Foucault, 2008, p. 65), he was reflecting on a self-misunderstanding at the heart of liberalism that a spirited feminist critique had already begun to disclose. When a nascent feminism tried to put liberal descriptions of “natural” private freedoms to its own uses, it discovered that they depended on repressive gender ideologies. Its response that “the personal is political” sometimes meant attempting to do away with the distinction altogether (Firestone, 1970). For the most part though feminists have recognized that the separation between the private and public spheres is essential to modern individuality and so vital to its own concerns (see Blatterer, this volume, Chapter 5). Rejecting those feminisms that “would abandon the distinction between private and public entirely,” Beate Rössler makes the point that “the difficulties associated with the liberal distinction between a public and a private sphere are not so categorical that the distinction becomes problematic in principle” (2005, p. 23, original emphasis). The challenge now is to reconstruct private freedoms that promise release from the gendered productions that underpin a liberal faith in their “givenness.” My paper critically reviews some episodes in feminist controversies over how to redescribe the freedoms of private life and offers its own contribution.

Keywords

Public Sphere Private Life Private Sphere Gender Ideology Normative Continuity 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Arendt, H. (1958), The Human Condition ( Chicago: University of Chicago Press).Google Scholar
  2. Beck, U. and E. Beck-Gernsheim (1995), The Normal Chaos of Love ( Cambridge: Polity).Google Scholar
  3. Benhabib, S. (1996), “On Hegel Women and Irony,” in P. J. Mills (ed.), Feminist Interpretations of G.W.F Hegel ( Pennsylvania: Pennsylvania Press ), 25–44.Google Scholar
  4. Brown, W. (1995), States of Injury: Power and Freedom in Late Modernity ( Princeton: Princeton University Press).Google Scholar
  5. Coontz, S. (2005), Marriage, a History: From Obedience to Intimacy or How Love Conquered Marriage ( New York: Penguin).Google Scholar
  6. Elshtain, J. B. (1981), Public Man, Private Woman: Women in Social and Political Thought ( Oxford: Mart in Robertson).Google Scholar
  7. Elshtain, J. B. (1982), The Family in Political Thought ( Sussex: The Harvester Press )Google Scholar
  8. Evans, M. (2003), Love: An Unromantic Discussion ( Cambridge: Polity).Google Scholar
  9. Firestone, S. (1970), The Dialectic of Sex ( New York: Morrow).Google Scholar
  10. Foucault, M. (2008), The Birth of Biopolitics; Lectures at the College de France 1978–79 ( Hampshire and New York: Palgrave Macmillan ).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Giddens, A. (1992), The Transformation of Intimacy: Sexuality, Love and Eroticism in Modern Societies ( Stanford: Stanford University Press).Google Scholar
  12. Hegel, G. W. F. (1991), Elements of a Philosophy of Right ( Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press).Google Scholar
  13. Honneth, A. (2004), “Between Justice and Affection: The Family as a Field of Moral Disputes,” in B. Rössler (ed.), Privacies: Philosophical Evaluations ( Stanford: Stanford University Press ), 142–63.Google Scholar
  14. Honneth, A. (2007), “Love and Morality: On the Moral Content of Emotional Ties,” in Disrespect: The Normative Foundations of Critical Theory ( Cambridge: Polity ), 163–80.Google Scholar
  15. Illouz, E. (1997), Consuming the Romantic Utopia: Love and the Cultural Contradictions of Capitalism ( Berkley: University of California Press).Google Scholar
  16. Johnson, P. (1994), Feminism as Radical Humanism ( San Francisco: Westview).Google Scholar
  17. Kristjansson, K. (2006), “Parents and Children as Friends,” Journal of Social Philosophy, vol. 37, no. 2, 250–65.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Landes, J. (1998), Feminism, the Public and the Private ( New York: Oxford University Press).Google Scholar
  19. Landes, J. (2003), “Further Thoughts on the Public Private Distinction,” Journal of Women’s History, vol. 15, no. 2, 28–39.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Lewis, C. S. (1960), The Four Loves ( London: Geoffrey Bles).Google Scholar
  21. Levinas, E. (1969), Totality and Infinity ( Pittsburgh: Duquesne University Press).Google Scholar
  22. Luhmann, N. (1986), Love as Passion: The Codification of Intimacy ( Cambridge: Polity Press).Google Scholar
  23. Noddings, N. (1984), Caring: A Feminine Approach to Ethics and Moral Education ( Berkley: University of California Press).Google Scholar
  24. Okin, S. Moller (1989), Justice Gender and the Family ( Stanford: Stanford University Press).Google Scholar
  25. Okin, S. Moller (1991), “Humanist Liberalism,” in N. L. Rosenblum (ed.), Liberalism and the Moral Life ( Cambridge: Harvard University Press ), 39–53.Google Scholar
  26. Pahl, R. (2000), On Friendship ( Cambridge: Polity).Google Scholar
  27. Pateman, C. (1988), The Sexual Contract ( Stanford: Stanford University Press).Google Scholar
  28. Pauer-Struder, H. (2004), “Justice as Pre-condition of Affection and Care. A Comment on Axel Honneth,” in B. Rössler (ed.), Privacies: Philosophical Evaluations ( Stanford: Stanford University Press ), 142–63.Google Scholar
  29. Paz, O. (1996), The Double Flame: Essays on Love and Eroticism ( London: Harvill Press).Google Scholar
  30. Rössler, B. (2005), The Value of Privacy ( Cambridge: Polity Press).Google Scholar
  31. Silver, A. (1996), “‘Two Different Sorts of Commerce’ or Friendship and Strangership in Civil Society,” in J. Weintraub and K. Kumar (eds), Public and Private Thought and Practice: Perspectives on the Grand Dichotomy ( Chicago: Chicago University Press ), 43–74.Google Scholar
  32. Vernon, M. (2005), The Philosophy of Friendship ( New York: Palgrave Macmillan).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Walzer, M. (1983), Spheres of Justice: A Defense of Pluralism and Equality ( New York: Basic Books).Google Scholar
  34. Zeldin, T. (1994), An Intimate History of Humanity ( New York: Harper and Collins).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Pauline Johnson

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations