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Explaining the Power of Gendered Subjectivity

The Diversity of Social Theories

ISBN: 978-0-85724-821-3, eISBN: 978-0-85724-822-0

Publication date: 12 October 2011


This chapter is a critical review of Amy Allen's book The Politics of Our Selves. It briefly reconstructs some of the book's impressive achievements: articulating a synthetic account of gendered subjectivity that accounts for both subjection and autonomy; imaginatively integrating poststructuralist and communicative theories; and, furthering important new interpretations of Butler, Foucault, and Habermas. It also raises critical concerns about Allen's project: her specific conception of autonomy and its justification; her suspicions of the notion of historical progress; her psychological explanation of the continuing power of pernicious norms of gendered subjectivity; the usefulness of psychoanalysis for critical social theory; and, the role of cultural, structural, and materialist explanations and political strategies.


Zurn, C.F. (2011), "Explaining the Power of Gendered Subjectivity", Dahms, H.F. (Ed.) The Diversity of Social Theories (Current Perspectives in Social Theory, Vol. 29), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 117-130.



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