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Going Public

Feminism and the Shifting Boundaries of the Private Sphere

Diverse takes on central issues in contemporary feminist thought

In Going Public, a collection of international thinkers convene to reconsider the public/private distinction, an issue long central to feminists in their academic and political work.

The feminist critique of rights has been fundamental to changes in Western liberal democracy and global human rights campaigns. These essays, in geographically and theoretically diverse case studies, test the currency of the categories of public and private as they determine social practices including protections and invasions of privacy by states, employers and other institutions. They ask what counts as 'the private' in different cultural contexts and, in their unique discussion with one another, reconsider the history and direction of social change.

The unexpectedness of the approaches in these essays will unsettle received opinion, provoke new discussion, and challenge readers to think more seriously about the importance of figurative language, the power of common and uncommon usage, and the meaning of rights.

"This anthology presents an extremely valuable and cogent critique of the public/private distinction and its applications while also confronting the reader with a new, ramifying, and complex articulation of what is at stake in reckoning with these categories. This is a splendid volume, as original and important as it is thoughtfully conceived and edited. No other work of feminist scholarship does anything even remotely comparable."--Sylvia Schafer, University of Connecticut

Joan W. Scott is the Harold F. Linder Professor of Social Science at the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton University. Her most recent book is Only Paradoxes to Offer: French Feminists and the Rights of Man. Debra Keatesis program associate for publications at the Institute for Advanced Study.

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