Charles Fourier and the Nature of Women

  • Susan K. Grogan


Charles Fourier was the founder of a feminist tradition within French socialism His condemnation of the injustices of contemporary society incorporated a critique of the subjection of women, and in the ideal world of Harmony which he envisaged the ‘liberty’ of women would be guaranteed. Women would live, love and work with the same independence as men. These ideas had a major impact on Fourier’s contemporaries and successors, although few accepted his proposals unequivocally. Prominent figures within the socialist tradition such as Flora Tristan, Karl Marx and Rosa Luxemburg reiterated or paraphrased his famous saying:

… as a general proposition: Social progress and changes of [social] Period occur by virtue of the progress of women toward liberty, and the decline in the social Order occurs by virtue of the decrease in women’s liberty….

In short, the extension of the privileges of women is the general principle of all social progress.2


Sexual Difference Social Progress Social Harmony Minor Order Minor Passion 
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  1. C. Pellarin, Charles Fourier. Sa Vie et Sa Théorie, 2nd ed. (Paris, 1843), pp. 9–20; Jonathan Beecher and Richard Bienvenu (eds), The Utopian Vision of Charles Fourier. Selected Texts on Work, Love and Passionate Attraction (London, 1972), pp. 3–4.Google Scholar
  2. 8.
    E. Lehouck, Vie de Charles Fourier (Paris, 1978), pp. 46–74; Utopian Vision pp. 5–7.Google Scholar
  3. 15.
    Charles Fourier, ‘A Monsieur Victor Considerant’, Archives Nationales (hereafter AN), 10 AS 21 (13), p. 18.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Susan K. Grogan 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • Susan K. Grogan
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of HistoryVictoria University of WellingtonNew Zealand

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