Feminism and Postmodernism: An Uneasy Alliance

Benhabib, Seyla

Publisher:  Marxists.org
Year Published:  1995  
Resource Type:  Article
Cx Number:  CX22821

A discussion of feminist theory, particularly the usefulness of postmodernism as a theoretical concept. From the book "Feminist Contentions. A Philosophical Exchange."



Viewed from within the intellectual and academic Culture of western capitalist democracies, feminism and postmodernism have emerged as two leading currents of our time. They, have discovered their affinities in the struggle against the grand narratives of Western Enlightenment and modernity. Feminism and postmodernism are thus often mentioned as if their current union was a foregone conclusion., yet certain characterizations of postmodernism should make us rather ask "feminism or postmodernism?" At issue, of course, are not merely terminological quibbles. Both feminism and postmodernism are not merely, descriptive categories: they are constitutive and evaluative terms, informing and helping define the very practices which they attempt to describe. As categories of the present, they project modes of thinking about the future and evaluating the past. Let us begin then by considering one of the recent more comprehensive characterizations of the "postmodern moment" provided by a feminist theorist.

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