Women and Children First: Feminism, Rhetoric, and Public Policy

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SUNY Press, Aug 18, 2005 - Philosophy - 263 pages
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This diverse collection explores the rhetoric of a wide range of public policies that propose “to put women and children first,” including homeland security, school violence, gun control, medical intervention of intersex infants, and policies that aim to distinguish “good” from “bad” mothers. Using various feminist philosophical analyses, the contributors uncover a logic of paternalistic treatment of women and children that purports to protect them but almost always also disempowers them and sometimes harms them. This logic is widespread in contemporary popular policy discourse and affects the way that people understand and respond to social and political issues. Contributors rethink basic philosophical assumptions concerning subjectivity, difference, and dualistic logic in order to read the rhetoric of contemporary public policy discourse and develop new ways of talking and acting in the policy domain.
 

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Contents

Introduction Women and Children First
1
Misrepresentations of the Domestic Sphere State Interventions
15
Homeland Security and the Cooptation of Feminist Discourse
17
Unsanctioned Bedroom Commitments The 2000 US Census Discourse around Cohabitation and SingleMotherhood
37
Enemies of the State Poor White Mothers and the Discourse of Universal Human Rights
57
Medical Discourses and Social Ills
79
Fixing Sex Medical Discourse and the Management of Intersex
81
Social Melancholy Shame and Sublimation
99
Predators and Protectors The Rhetoric of School Violence
121
Battered Woman Syndrome Locating the Subject Amidst the Advocacy
137
Mothers Good and Bad Marginalizing Mothers and Idealizing Children
157
Bad Mothers as Brown Mothers in Western Canadian Policy Discourse SubstanceAbusing Mothers and Sexually Exploited Girls
159
Behind Bars or Up on a Pedestal Motherhood and Fetal Harm
183
Protesting Mothers Politics under the Sign of Motherhood
203
Mothers Biopolitics and the Gulf War
205
Love and Reason in the Public Sphere Maternalist Civic Engagement and the Dilemma of Difference
227

Subjects of Violence
119

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About the author (2005)

Sharon M. Meagher is Professor of Philosophy and Director of Women's Studies at the University of Scranton.

Patrice DiQuinzio is Associate Professor of Philosophy and Director of Women's Studies at Muhlenberg College. She is the author of The Impossibility of Motherhood: Feminism, Individualism, and the Problem of Mothering and coeditor (with Iris Marion Young) of Feminist Ethics and Social Policy.

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