Armstrong, Chris and Squires, Judith
Beyond public and private: relational space and sexual inequalities
Political Theory, 1, (3), . (doi:10.1057/palgrave.cpt.9300059).
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The public/private dichotomy has long been the object of considerable attention for feminists. We argue that, by focusing their attention on a divide which has declined in importance, feminists may fail to keep up with the current means by which sexual inequalities are perpetuated. Furthermore, by concentrating on this divide feminists risk reproducing such dichotomous thinking in their own work, discursively perpetuating that which they had initially hoped to displace. We begin by surveying feminist critiques of the public/private dichotomy, consider recent moves to go beyond critique, yet suggest that the dichotomy continues to be a framing concern within feminist work. We then survey the way in which space has been understood within geography, and consider the implications of adopting a relational conception of space for analysis of public and private in political theory. We offer a broader framework for examining the ways in which sexual inequalities are reproduced in contemporary society. We therefore open up the possibility that over time inequalities may be mediated to a greater or lesser degree by spatial divisions. This places a further pressure on the assumption that the public/private divide, or some variation thereof, must be at the heart of feminist theorizing.
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