Reclaiming feminist futures: co-opted and progressive politics in a neoliberal age

Catherine Eschle, Bice Maiguashca

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

15 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This article engages with the influential narrative about the co-optation of feminism in conditions of neoliberalism put forward by prominent feminist thinkers Nancy Fraser, Hester Eisenstein and Angela McRobbie. After drawing out the twin visions of 'progressive' feminist politics that undergird this narrative — cached out in terms of either the retrieval of past socialist feminist glories or personal reinvention — we subject to critical scrutiny both the substantive claims made and the conceptual scaffolding invoked. We argue that the proleptic imaginings of all three authors, in different ways, are highly circumscribed in terms of the recommended agent, agenda and practices of progressive politics, and clouded by conceptual muddle over the meanings of 'left', 'radical' and 'progressive'. Taken together, these problems render the conclusions of Fraser, Eisenstein and McRobbie at best unconvincing and at worst dismissive of contemporary feminist efforts to challenge neoliberalism. We end the paper by disentangling and redefining left, radical and progressive and by sketching a contrasting substantive vision of progressive feminist politics enabled by this reconceptualisation.
LanguageEnglish
Pages634-651
Number of pages18
JournalPolitical Studies
Volume62
Issue number3
Early online date7 Jun 2013
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2014

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politics
neoliberalism
narrative
feminism

Keywords

  • feminism
  • politics
  • neoliberalism
  • feminist politics

Cite this

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title = "Reclaiming feminist futures: co-opted and progressive politics in a neoliberal age",
abstract = "This article engages with the influential narrative about the co-optation of feminism in conditions of neoliberalism put forward by prominent feminist thinkers Nancy Fraser, Hester Eisenstein and Angela McRobbie. After drawing out the twin visions of 'progressive' feminist politics that undergird this narrative — cached out in terms of either the retrieval of past socialist feminist glories or personal reinvention — we subject to critical scrutiny both the substantive claims made and the conceptual scaffolding invoked. We argue that the proleptic imaginings of all three authors, in different ways, are highly circumscribed in terms of the recommended agent, agenda and practices of progressive politics, and clouded by conceptual muddle over the meanings of 'left', 'radical' and 'progressive'. Taken together, these problems render the conclusions of Fraser, Eisenstein and McRobbie at best unconvincing and at worst dismissive of contemporary feminist efforts to challenge neoliberalism. We end the paper by disentangling and redefining left, radical and progressive and by sketching a contrasting substantive vision of progressive feminist politics enabled by this reconceptualisation.",
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Reclaiming feminist futures : co-opted and progressive politics in a neoliberal age. / Eschle, Catherine; Maiguashca, Bice.

In: Political Studies, Vol. 62, No. 3, 10.2014, p. 634-651.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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