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Privatization, Law, and the Challenge to Feminism

Privatization, Law, and the Challenge to Feminism

Brenda Cossman
Judy Fudge
Copyright Date: 2002
Pages: 496
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  • Book Info
    Privatization, Law, and the Challenge to Feminism
    Book Description:

    Examining eight case studies on the role of law in various arenas, this collection of essays addresses the reconfiguration of the relations between the state, the market, and the family caused by privatization.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-7877-4
    Subjects: Law

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Preface
    (pp. ix-xii)
    (pp. xiii-2)
  5. Introduction: Privatization, Law, and the Challenge to Feminism
    (pp. 3-38)

    Privatization, along with globalization and restructuring, has become one of the defining terms of the end of the twentieth and the beginning of the twenty-first centuries.¹ While initially the term referred specifically to the sale of government assets to the private sector, best exemplified in England under Thatcher from 1979 through the 1980s, privatization has come to signify a tectonic shift in public policy. In the 1980s it became emblematic of the economic creed that the market was inevitably superior to politics as an allocative mechanism. In 1985, the Royal Commission on the Economic Union and Development Prospects (the Macdonald...

  6. Part I: Reproducing the Market

    • 1 Tax Law and Social Reproduction: The Gender of Fiscal Policy in an Age of Privatization
      (pp. 41-85)

      The drive towards privatization in Canada has at its heart one central claim: that private choice is better than public regulation as a mechanism for allocating resources and ordering social affairs. The main job of the state, according to neo-liberal wisdom, is just to get out of the way. In the field of fiscal policy this belief often translates into a powerful anti-tax sentiment. Yet a study of income tax reform from the early 1990s belies the image of a leaner, less regulatory state. While governments in Canada are revising their income tax laws to promote and enforce a norm...

    • 2 From Segregation to Privatization: Equality, the Law, and Women Public Servants, 1908–2001
      (pp. 86-127)

      This chapter focuses on the changing gender order in Canada, exploring the ways in which the privatization process has begun to reconfigure gender relations in an attempt to resolve the deepening contradiction between reproduction and production. It examines the legal regulation of women’s employment within the federal public service in Canada from 1908 to 2001. Its goal is to illuminate two elements of twentieth-century Canadian gender: the commodification of women’s labour and women’s struggle for equality.

      An examination of the way in which the federal government treated women as employees throws light on how women’s labour was commodified by the...

    • 3 Privatizing Pension Risk: Gender, Law, and Financial Markets
      (pp. 128-166)

      Neo-liberalism is usually characterized as rejecting an active role for the state in either economic activity or the governance of populations.¹ It also supports the enhanced autonomy and responsibility of individuals to define and execute their own well-being (Rose 1999). An important aspect of the project of neo-liberalism is reliance on non-state ‘techniques of governance,’ which include actuarialism (assessments of the probabilities of harms occuring), ‘privatized prudentialism’ (risk management through private insurance) (O’Malley 1992), and governance of the self (Hunt 2000, 14; Mykitiuk this volume).² One of the most prominent of these governance techniques is the definition, assessment, and management...

  7. Part II: Producing the Social Body

    • 4 Family Feuds: Neo-Liberal and Neo-Conservative Visions of the Reprivatization Project
      (pp. 169-217)

      Family law has always involved the public enforcement of private responsibilities of individual family members. But in an era of privatization, it has acquired a newfound importance. Within the new neo-liberal state – characterized by a reduction of government social spending and a transfer of these responsibilities to the private realms of market and family – family law is becoming a more important regulatory instrument for the enforcement of private support obligations for economically dependent family members. More specifically, family law is being called upon to address the economic needs of women and children at precisely the moment when the...

    • 5 Public Entrance / Private Member
      (pp. 218-264)

      Immigration policy seems an unpromising place to look for evidence of privatization, if by this one means the retraction of the state. As sociologist Robert Miles remarks, ‘immigration is a social process that is widely considered to require state regulation (especially by governments otherwise ideologically committed to “rolling back the state”)’ (Miles 1993, 11). Indeed, the real and imagined lines dividing insider and outsider, citizen and foreigner, ‘us’ and ‘them,’ are constituted by and constitutive of the modern nation state. Policing territorial borders against people – as opposed to trade and investment – symbolizes the site, if not the last...

  8. Part III: The Self-Reliant Citizen:: Social Health and Public Order

    • 6 Creeping Privatization in Health Care: Implications for Women as the State Redraws Its Role
      (pp. 267-310)

      Entitlement to health care funded by public health insurance is often identified as a defining marker of Canadian society. Access to insured services is based on need rather than ability to pay, while the costs of health care – that is, the financial risks of illness – are spread among taxpayers. It is a system that has worked to increase equitable access to needed health care. Many in both the public and government view it as one of Canada’s major national accomplishments (National Forum on Health 1997c; 1, 3). Despite growing concerns about the system’s ability to meet health care...

    • 7 Public Bodies, Private Parts: Genetics in a Post-Keynesian Era
      (pp. 311-354)

      Genetics is a branch of biology that deals with the heredity and variation of organisms and understands such variation to be located in one’s genes.¹ It is aligned with the realm of the natural, the empirically verifiable, and the material essence of the individual organism. It is ahistorical and apolitical. Privatization, as understood in this project, refers to the process of state restructuring attendant on the economic and political forces set off by globalization, and stands on the opposite side of the nature/culture divide. Privatization is a politically inspired project, the creation of human design. However, there is a significant...

    • 8 Both Pitied and Scorned: Child Prostitution in an Era of Privatization
      (pp. 355-402)

      Privatization, used here to refer to the amalgam of neo-liberal and neo-conservative strategies that mark the dismantling of the welfare state (Fudge & Cossman this volume), is fundamentally paradoxical. People are consenting to policies and practices that consistently enhance state coercion while undercutting state supports – practices which, although essential to privatization, are harmful to most people. Resolutions to this paradox inevitably include a consideration not only of privatization and refamilialization practices, but also of the criminal justice ‘system,’ the most significant institution of state coercion. As Douglas Hay has demonstrated, periods marked by increases in social inequality also demonstrate increased...

  9. Conclusion: Privatization, Polarization, and Policy: Feminism and the Future
    (pp. 403-420)

    Beginning in the early 1980s and broadening and deepening throughout the 1990s, the project of privatization was institutionalized in Canada. Economic restructuring and the mantra of deficit and debt reduction have been the twin rationales for clawing back the state’s redistributive role. The market was liberated from restrictive regulation and its jurisdiction expanded throughout social life. The primacy of private ordering was given a constitutional boost through various supra-national treaties, of which NAFTA was the most prominent. With globalization, neo-classical economic theory was elevated to an article of faith and private accumulation and increased competition were applauded as the only...

  10. References
    (pp. 421-493)