Woman-friendly citizenship

February 26, 1999

Ruth Lister offers a trenchant critique of every traditional facet of citizenship - from its oft-competing roots in liberal rights and civic republicanism to the rigid separation of public and private spheres of action, and a "universalism" that stifles the pluralist realities of gender, race and class. These facets are cast as inherently limiting - in concept and practice - the scope of women's civil, political and social citizenship.

But Lister, a leading activist and an academic, rejects victim-feminism or radical dismissals of citizenship, calling instead for a reconstruction that is inclusive and woman-friendly in pursuit of "differentiated universalism" (chiefly in Euro-British contexts, with valuable forays into global civil society). While drawing on material available elsewhere, the synthesis here is a corrective to much of the burgeoning literature on citizenship. And the methodology is properly subversive of easy binary divides: equality versus difference, dependence versus autonomy, justice versus care.

This text should appeal widely to those in social policy, sociology, political and women's studies, including activists. The appeal might be still broader if the human rights segments were more specific about relevant law and its domestic and international applications.

Amyn B. Sajoo is an international policy scholar and consultant based in Vancouver, Canada.

Citizenship: Feminist Perspectives. First Edition

Author - Ruth Lister
ISBN - £45.00 and £14.99
Publisher - Macmillan
Price - £45.00 and £14.99
Pages - 284

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