《The Fortunes of Feminism》的笔记-Prologue to a Drama in Three Acts
- 章节名：Prologue to a Drama in Three Acts
- 2017-01-26 03:58:02
简洁明了地梳理了二战后第二浪潮女性主义到20世纪末女性主义，在政治立场和斗争方向上的转变，作者称之为第一二三行动（ACT），简要的说act one就是第二浪潮女性主义，是一种economism；act two是在20世纪末21世纪初，在新自由主义经济下，女性主义的一种文化转向，即culturalism。而act three是我们接下来要寻找的道路，即在economism和culturalism之间的一条路。以下是原文，有空可以翻译以下：When second-wave feminism first erupted on the world stage, the advanced capitalist states of Western Europe and North America were still enjoying the unprecedented wave of prosperity that followed World War II. Utilizing new tools of Keynesian economic steering, they had apparently learned to counteract business downturns and to guide national economic development so as to secure near full employment for men. Incorporating once unruly labor movements, the advanced capitalist countries had built more or less extensive welfare states and institutionalized national cross-class solidarity. To be sure, this historic class compromise rested on a series of gender and racial-ethnic exclusions, not to mention external neocolonial exploitation. But those potential fault lines tended to remain latent in a social-democratic imaginary that foregrounded class redistribution. The result was a prosperous North Atlantic belt of mass-consumption societies, which had apparently tamed social conflict. In the 1960s, however, the relative calm of this “Golden Age of capitalism” was suddenly shattered. In an extraordinary international explosion, radical youth took to the streets— at first to oppose the Vietnam War and racial segregation in the US. Soon they began to question core features of capitalist modernity that social democracy had heretofore naturalized: materialism, consumerism, and “the achievement ethic”; bureaucracy, corporate culture, and “social control”; sexual repression, sexism, and heteronormativity. Breaking through the normalized political routines of the previous era, new social actors formed new social movements, with second-wave feminism among the most visionary. Along with their comrades in other movements, the feminists of this era recast the radical imaginary. Transgressing a political culture that had privileged actors who cast themselves as nationally bounded and politically tamed classes, they challenged the gender exclusions of social democracy. Problematizing welfare paternalism and the bourgeois family, they exposed the deep androcentrism of capitalist society. Politicizing “the personal,” they expanded the boundaries of contestation beyond socioeconomic distribution— to include housework, sexuality, and reproduction. In fact, the initial wave of postwar feminism had an ambivalent relationship to social democracy. On the one hand, much of the early second wave rejected the latter’s étatism and its tendency to marginalize class and social injustices other than “maldistribution.” On the other hand, many feminists presupposed key features of the socialist imaginary as a basis for more radical designs. Taking for granted the welfare state’s solidaristic ethos and prosperity-securing steering capacities, they too were committed to taming markets and promoting equality. Acting from a critique that was at once radical and immanent, early second-wave feminists sought less to dismantle the welfare state than to transform it into a force that could help to overcome male domination. By the 1980s, however, history seemed to have bypassed that political project. A decade of conservative rule in much of Western Europe and North America, capped by the fall of Communism in the East, miraculously breathed new life into free-market ideologies previously given up for dead. Rescued from the historical dustbin, “neoliberalism” authorized a sustained assault on the very idea of egalitarian redistribution. The effect, amplified by accelerating globalization, was to cast doubt on the legitimacy and viability of the use of public power to tame market forces. With social democracy on the defensive, efforts to broaden and deepen its promise naturally fell by the wayside. Feminist movements that had earlier taken the welfare state as their point of departure, seeking to extend its egalitarian ethos from class to gender, now found the ground cut out from under their feet. No longer able to assume a social-democratic baseline for radicalization, they gravitated to newer grammars of political claims-making, more attuned to the “post-socialist” zeitgeist. Enter the politics of recognition. If the initial thrust of postwar feminism was to “engender” the socialist imaginary, the later tendency was to redefine gender justice as a project aimed at “recognizing difference.” “Recognition,” accordingly, became the chief grammar of feminist claims-making at the fin de siècle. A venerable category of Hegelian philosophy, resuscitated by political theorists, this notion captured the distinctive character of “post-socialist” struggles, which often took the form of identity politics, aimed more at valorizing cultural difference than at promoting economic equality. Whether the question was care work, sexual violence, or gender disparities in political representation, feminists increasingly resorted to the grammar of recognition to press their claims. Unable to transform the deep gender structures of the capitalist economy, they preferred to target harms rooted in androcentric patterns of cultural value or status hierarchies. The result was a major shift in the feminist imaginary: whereas the previous generation had sought to remake political economy, this one focused more on transforming culture. The results were decidedly mixed. On the one hand, the new feminist struggles for recognition continued the earlier project of expanding the political agenda beyond the confines of class redistribution; in principle they served to broaden, and to radicalize, the concept of justice. On the other hand, however, the figure of the struggle for recognition so thoroughly captured the feminist imagination that it served more to displace than to deepen the socialist imaginary. The effect was to subordinate social struggles to cultural struggles, the politics of redistribution to the politics of recognition. That was not, to be sure, the original intention. It was assumed, rather, by proponents of the cultural turn that a feminist politics of identity and difference would synergize with struggles for gender equality. But that assumption fell prey to the larger zeitgeist. In the fin de siècle context, the turn to recognition dovetailed all too neatly with a rising neoliberalism that wanted nothing more than to repress all memory of social egalitarianism. The result was a tragic historical irony. Instead of arriving at a broader, richer paradigm that could encompass both redistribution and recognition, feminists effectively traded one truncated paradigm for another— a truncated economism for a truncated culturalism. Today, however, perspectives centered on recognition alone lack all credibility. In the context of escalating capitalist crisis, the critique of political economy is regaining its central place in theory and practice. No serious social movement, least of all feminism, can ignore the evisceration of democracy and the assault on social reproduction now being waged by finance capital. Under these conditions, a feminist theory worth its salt must revive the “economic” concerns of Act One— without, however, neglecting the “cultural” insights of Act Two. But that is not all. It must integrate these not only with one another but also with a new set of “political” concerns made salient by globalization: How might emancipatory struggles serve to secure democratic legitimacy and to expand and equalize political influence in a time when the powers that govern our lives increasingly overrun the borders of territorial states? How might feminist movements foster equal participation transnationally, across entrenched power asymmetries and divergent worldviews? Struggling simultaneously on three fronts— call them redistribution, recognition, and representation— the feminism of Act Three must join with other anti-capitalist forces, even while exposing their continued failure to absorb the insights of decades of feminist activism. Today’s feminism must, moreover, be sensitive to the historical context in which we operate. Situating ourselves vis-à-vis the broader constellation of political forces, we need to keep our distance both from market-besotted neoliberals and from those who seek to “defend society” (replete with hierarchy and exclusion) from the market. Charting a third path between that Scylla and Charybdis, a feminism worthy of Act Three must join other emancipatory movements in integrating our fundamental interest in non-domination with protectionists’ legitimate concerns for social security, without neglecting the importance of negative liberty, which is usually associated with liberalism.
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