Download French Socialism and Sexual Difference: Women and the New by S. Foley PDF

By S. Foley

This research explores the meanings ascribed to sexual adjustments inside early nineteenth century French socialism, and the consequences of such definitions for ladies. via an in depth exam of the theories of Charles Fourier, the Saint-Simonians and flowers Tristan, it illustrates how gender differences supplied a device of social feedback and a picture of the idealized destiny. Love and sympathy have been assigned because the traits of "the feminine", therefore justifying women's social participation along males. in addition, those traits gave "the female" a symbolic importance within the undertaking of ethical and social renewal, evoking the specified global of concord and co-operation. instead of rejecting the binary contrast among masculine and female which used to be gaining new value of their society, as a result, socialists challenged the price it ascribed to every intercourse and the jobs it legitimated. although, the accentuation of intercourse transformations additionally circumscribed the chances for woman "liberty" and self-definition of their personal society, and within the perfect worlds they envisaged.

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Extra info for French Socialism and Sexual Difference: Women and the New Society, 1803-44

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Fourier's advocacy of public roles for women contrasted with the domestic ideal which was to gain prominence in the early nineteenth century. His model differed partly on economic grounds, since he emphasised the need for all citizens to playa productive role. However, he also insisted on the vital interaction between the forces of 'masculinity' and 'femininity', rather than their assignment to 'separate spheres'. The separation of love and work, of sentiment and reason, ran counter to Fourier's emphasis on the role of love and emotion in stimulating production.

13 His writings continue to speak in a number of different voices and to make possible a number of different readings. To some extent, however, ~ourier presented his ideas publicly in an increasingly circumspect torm as he struggled to gain acceptance for his doctrine. He first outlined his proposals in 1808, in a work entitled Theory of Four Movements and of the General Destinies: Prospectus and Announcement of the Discovery. Women occupied a central place in this book since their experiences denoted the progressive or regressive character of each era.

Nor was he consistent in his argument, for he also stated that intellectual and physical capacity were unrelated and thus defended the intellectual potential of women. 32 Nevertheless, Fourier did not define male and female intelligence as identical. 'Civilised' women, deprived of the opportunity for scientific study, understood instinctively rather than rationally, hence their ability to understand Fourier's theories. 33 Fourier's insistence on sexual differentiation and rivalry also led him to anticipate differences in the intellectual capacities of men and women in Harmony, where female intellectual potential would be recognised and developed.

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