The Sexual Contract

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Carole Pateman is one of the foremost political theorists writing in English today. In this outstanding new work, she presents a major reinterpretation of modern political theory. She shows how standard discussions of social contract theory tell only half the story. The sexual contract which establishes modern patriarchy and the political right of men over women is never mentioned. In a wide-ranging and scholarly discussion, Pateman examines the significance of the political fictions of the original contract and the slave contract. She also offers a sweeping challenge to conventional understandings - of both left and right - of actual contracts in everyday life: the marriage contract, the employment contract, the prostitution contract and the new surrogacy contract. By bringing a feminist perspective to bear on the contradictions and paradoxes surrounding women and contract and the relation between the sexes, she is able to shed new light on the fundamental problems of freedom and subordination. The Sexual Contract will become a classic text in the politics of gender and will be of major interest to students of social and political theory and philosophy, women's studies, sociology and jurisprudence.
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About the author

Carole Pateman is a feminist and political theorist. She is known as a critic of liberal democracy and has been a member of the British Academy since 2007.

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Additional Information

Publisher
John Wiley & Sons
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Published on
Jun 5, 2018
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Pages
280
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ISBN
9780745680330
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Best For
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Language
English
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Genres
Social Science / Discrimination & Race Relations
Social Science / Research
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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The Racial Contract puts classic Western social contract theory, deadpan, to extraordinary radical use. With a sweeping look at the European expansionism and racism of the last five hundred years, Charles W. Mills demonstrates how this peculiar and unacknowledged "contract" has shaped a system of global European domination: how it brings into existence "whites" and "non-whites," full persons and sub-persons, how it influences white moral theory and moral psychology; and how this system is imposed on non-whites through ideological conditioning and violence. The Racial Contract argues that the society we live in is a continuing white supremacist state.Holding up a mirror to mainstream philosophy, this provocative book explains the evolving outline of the racial contract from the time of the New World conquest and subsequent colonialism to the written slavery contract, to the "separate but equal" system of segregation in the twentieth-century United States. According to Mills, the contract has provided the theoretical architecture justifying an entire history of European atrocity against non-whites, from David Hume's and Immanuel Kant's claims that blacks had inferior cognitive power, to the Holocaust, to the kind of imperialism in Asia that was demonstrated by the Vietnam War.Mills suggests that the ghettoization of philosophical work on race is no accident. This work challenges the assumption that mainstream theory is itself raceless. Just as feminist theory has revealed orthodox political philosophy's invisible white male bias, Mills's explication of the racial contract exposes its racial underpinnings.
Contract and Domination offers a bold challenge to contemporary contract theory, arguing that it should either be fundamentally rethought or abandoned altogether. Since the publication of John Rawls's A Theory of Justice, contract theory has once again become central to the Western political tradition. But gender justice is neglected and racial justice almost completely ignored.

Carole Pateman and Charles Mills's earlier books, The Sexual Contract (1988) and The Racial Contract (1997), offered devastating critiques of gender and racial domination and the contemporary contract tradition's silence on them. Both books have become classics of revisionist radical democratic political theory. Now Pateman and Mills are collaborating for the first time in an interdisciplinary volume, drawing on their insights from political science and philosophy. They are building on but going beyond their earlier work to bring the sexual and racial contracts together.

In Contract and Domination, Pateman and Mills discuss their differences about contract theory and whether it has a useful future, excavate the (white) settler contract that created new civil societies in North America and Australia, argue via a non-ideal contract for reparations to black Americans, confront the evasions of contemporary contract theorists, explore the intersections of gender and race and the global sexual-racial contract, and reply to their critics.

This iconoclastic book throws the gauntlet down to mainstream white male contract theory. It is vital reading for anyone with an interest in political theory and political philosophy, and the systems of male and racial domination.

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