Feminists have recently begun to challenge the powerful influence of the law on the social and cultural construction of women’s roles, identities, and rights. At the Boundaries of Law is a timely and path-breaking work that provides a series of non-technical, interdisciplinary explorations into the nature and effects of legal regulation on women’s lives. Together the essays examine the fertile – and radically revisionary – links between feminism and legal theory.
But At the Boundaries of Law rejects the abstract ‘grand theorizing’ of traditional feminist legal theory, focusing instead on the concrete and material implications of the legal injustices endured by women. These essays emphasise the complex diversity of female experience, collectively arguing for legal theory and practice that both recognises and accommodates the concept of ‘difference’ – in gender, class, race and sexual orientation.
At the Boundaries of Law also raises provocative questions about the methodology and future of feminist legal theory itself. In its rich variety of issues and approaches, this volume will command the interest not only of legal theorists, but of those interested in women’s studies, philosophy, politics, sociology and history. It is sure to set the future agenda for scholars, policymakers and anyone concerned with the role of law in society.
Table of Contents
Introduction Martha Albertson Fineman. Part 1. Perspectives from the Personal 1. Reasonable Women and the Law Kathleen A. Lahey 2. On being the Object of Property Patricia J. Williams 3. Subordination, Rhetorical Survival Skills and Sunday Shoes: Notes on the Hearing of Mrs G. Lucie E. White Part 2. The Construction of Body in Law 4. The Body in Legal Theory Judith E. Grbich 5. Intimacy and Responsibility: What Lesbians Do Claudia Card 6. Fallen Angels: The Representation of Violence Against Women in Legal Culture Kristin Bumiller Part 3. Recognising Pleasures and Pains 7. The Difference in Women’s Hedonic Lives: A Phenomenological Critique of Feminist Legal Theory Robin L. West 8. Feminism, Sexuality and Authenticity Ruth Colker 9. The Problem of Privatised Injuries: Feminist Strategies for Litigation Adrian Howe Part 4. Recasting Women’s History 10. The Unbroken Circle: A Historical Study of Black Single Mothers and their Families Barbara Omolade 11. Religion and Rights Consciousness in the Antebellum Woman’s Rights Movement Elizabeth B. Clark 12. Social Feminism and Legal Discourse, 1908-1923 Sybil Lipschultz Part 5. Perspectives on Marriage and Family 13. Homework and Women’s Rights: The Case of the Vermont Knitters, 1980-1985 Eileen Boris 14. Abandoned Women Mary Coombs 15. Societal Factors Affecting the Creation of Legal Rules for Distribution of Property at Divorce Martha Albertson Fineman Part 6. Feminist Strategies Within Legal Institutions 16. Feminism and Legal Method: The Difference it Makes Mary Jane Mossman 17. The Dialectics of Rights and Politics: Perspectives from the Women’s Movement Elizabeth M. Schneider 18. Strategizing in Inequality Diana Majury. References. Books and Articles. Cases. Notes on Contributors.