Civil Society and Gender Justice

Civil Society and Gender Justice: Historical and Comparative Perspectives

Karen Hagemann
Sonya Michel
Gunilla Budde
Copyright Date: 2008
Edition: NED - New edition, 1
Published by: Berghahn Books
Pages: 320
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    Civil Society and Gender Justice
    Book Description:

    Civil society and civic engagement have increasingly become topics of discussion at the national and international level. The editors of this volume ask, does the concept of "civil society" include gender equality and gender justice? Or, to frame the question differently, is civil society a feminist concept? Conversely, does feminism need the concept of civil society?

    This important volume offers both a revised gendered history of civil society and a program for making it more egalitarian in the future. An interdisciplinary group of internationally known authors investigates the relationship between public and private in the discourses and practices of civil societies; the significance of the family for the project of civil society; the relation between civil society, the state, and different forms of citizenship; and the complex connection between civil society, gendered forms of protest and nongovernmental movements. While often critical of historical instantiations of civil society, all the authors nonetheless take seriously the potential inherent in civil society, particularly as it comes to influence global politics. They demand, however, an expansion of both the concept and project of civil society in order to make its political opportunities available to all.

    eISBN: 978-1-84545-857-7
    Subjects: History, Political Science, Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vii)
  3. Acknowledgements
    (pp. viii-viii)
    Karen Hagemann, Sonya Michel and Gunilla Budde
  4. Editors’ Preface
    (pp. ix-xii)
    Dieter Gosewinkel and Jürgen Kocka
  5. Introduction: Gendering Civil Society
    (pp. 1-14)
    Karen Hagemann, Sonya Michel and Gunilla Budde

    The essays in this volume represent the emerging research on gender and civil society. Despite the renewed political and scholarly interest in civil society that began in the 1980s, the gendered nature of the concept and of the entire project of civil society was, until the 1990s, not an important subject for feminist scholars. This has changed over the last ten years, as the international conference on “Civil Society and Gender Justice. Historical and Comparative Perspectives,” organized by Karen Hagemann, Gunilla Budde, and Dagmar Simon in July 2004 at the Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB), indicates. Including the speakers,...

    • Chapter 1 Civil Society Gendered: Rethinking Theories and Practices
      (pp. 17-42)
      Karen Hagemann

      In recent years across Western societies, it would have been hard to find a politician’s speech, an NGO comment, or a media commentary without at least some reference to civil society. This multipurpose term seems to serve as a sort of panacea for the modern longing for community, solidarity, and more political participation “from below.” At the same time, civil society frequently functions in everyday political discourse as a new ersatz institution, making up for the loss of social welfare benefits previously provided mainly by the state. In the historical, political, and social sciences, too, this concept has had a...

    • Chapter 2 Dilemmas of Gender Justice: Gendering Equity, Justice, and Recognition
      (pp. 43-56)
      Regina Wecker

      When the Swiss Parliament discussed the ratification of the Convention on Equal Pay proposed by the International Labor Organization in 1953, Rudolf Mäder, one of its members, explained why he opposed the law. For him the fact that the husband was the family’s breadwinner legitimized the difference in the income between men and women. His colleague Paul Brodbeck got to the heart of the question even more precisely when he stated: “The difference in salary might be considered unjust by women, but it is just in the eyes of men.”¹ The majority of his fellow members in the exclusively male...

    • Chapter 3 The Progress of “Civilization”: Women, Gender, and Enlightened Perspectives on Civil Society in Eighteenth-Century Britain
      (pp. 59-78)
      Jane Rendall

      In the dramatic modern revival of the concept of civil society, the experience of eighteenth-century Britain has been an important point of reference. Jürgen Habermas identified its lively civil society, its print culture and coffee houses, its commercial activity and public spaces, as the precondition for the growth of a “bourgeois public sphere.”¹ Over the last two decades social and political historians of eighteenth-century Britain have explored the spaces of urban life, the proliferation of voluntary associations and the extension of political interests in a spirit which, if not explicitly Habermasian, has certainly enhanced our knowledge of that social world.²...

    • Chapter 4 The City and the Citoyenne: Associational Culture and Female Civic Virtues in Nineteenth-Century Germany
      (pp. 79-96)
      Gisela Mettele

      On 26 December 1867, Therese Schaaffhausen died in Cologne at the age of ninety. The obituary published by her relatives had the following to say about her:

      It was those truly rare qualities of heart and mind, the upright and religious life she led, her unflagging, considerate and strongly supportive dedication to all that was beneficial and to the common good which earned our dear departed one the undivided affection and respect of all those circles with whom she came into contact during her long and active life.¹

      The circles with which Therese Schaffhausen had been associated all her life...

    • Chapter 5 Feminists Campaigns in “Public Space”: Civil Society, Gender Justice, and the History of European Feminism
      (pp. 97-116)
      Karen Offen

      In 1925, an article entitled “What is Feminism?” appeared inThe Woman’s Leader and the Common Causein England. This article laid out the ambitions of the feminist agenda, insisting that it was not merely about gaining access to male privileges. Instead, the writer (probably the British feminist Eleanor Rathbone) continued:

      the mere throwing open to women of all privileges, political, professional, industrial, social, religious, in a social system designed by men for men is not going to carry us all the way to our feminist ideal. And what that ideal is, becomes clear when we define feminism asthe...

    • Chapter 6 The Family—A Core Institution of Civil Society: A Perspective on the Middle Classes in Imperial Germany
      (pp. 119-134)
      Gunilla Budde

      Was early civil society a male project? In our search for the opportunities for and obstacles to female participation in nineteenth-century civil society, is it the obstacles that dominate? That, at least, is what most research on the modish topic of “civil society,” whose spectacular renaissance has also included a number of historical studies, would seem to suggest. “Civil society,” sociologist Keith Tester notes concisely, “is about what happens when we leave our family and go about our own lives.”¹ Even if few of the earlier and current theorists of civil society would agree with such a broad description, most...

    • Chapter 7 Veiled Associations: The Muslim Middle Class, the Family, and the Colonial State in Nineteenth- and Twentieth-Century India
      (pp. 135-152)
      Margrit Pernau

      For the past several years, academic history writing in Germany has not only been expanding its field to include Western and Eastern European history, but it has also been aiming at a truly global perspective. Global history, in turn, needs global concepts in order to constitute a common framework that allows analyzing different phenomena together. It is here, however, that the problems start. The jealousy with which European historians guard their monopoly on defining notions and terms by insisting on their usage as related to a European context is at least matched by the uneasiness with which non-European historians view...

    • Chapter 8 “Only Connect”: Family, Gender, and Civil Society in Twentieth-Century Europe and North America
      (pp. 153-170)
      Paul A. Ginsborg

      “Only connect,” as many readers will know, is the epigraph of Edward M. Forster’s famous novel,Howards End.The invitation the epigraph contains can be read on a number of different levels: as the need to link different elements of human experience and memory; as a way to overcome barriers—whether social or intellectual; or, implicit in Forster’s novel itself, as a means to reconcile opposites—the seen and the unseen, the practical mind and the intellectual, the outer life and the inner.¹ I use it here primarily for two purposes: to point out a major methodological area in civil...

    • Chapter 9 Necessary Confrontations: Gender, Civil Society, and the Politics of Food in Eighteenth- to Twentieth-Century Germany
      (pp. 173-189)
      Manfred Gailus

      Food riots have occurred frequently throughout much of modern German history, but do they belong under the rubric of civil society?¹ Certainly, subsistence protests may be considered a type of popular initiative, but they clearly lack the qualities of polite debate or deliberative procedures we associate with clubs and civic organizations. Rather, they are a form of “self-help” that emerges from the fears, worries, and needs of historical actors and materializes in direct, symbolic, and even violent action. If crowds had stopped to articulate their philosophy, it might have been something like, “Necessity knows no law.” Such a rationale seems...

    • Chapter 10 “Good” vs. “Militant” Citizens: Masculinity, Class Protest, and the “Civil” Public in Britain between 1867 and 1939
      (pp. 190-207)
      Sonya O. Rose

      In October 1936, two hundred men set off from the town of Jarrow in the northeast of England and walked to London to present a petition to Parliament pleading for work for the town. At their head was Ellen Wilkinson, Member of Parliament for Jarrow. They went on their way with the support of the town’s mayor and prominent members of both its Conservative and Labour Parties. As they walked south, the men were welcomed by various town and city councils, and the “Crusade,” as they called it, received widespread publicity in newspapers across the country. At about the same...

    • Chapter 11 Civil Society in a New Key? Feminist and Alternative Groups in 1960s–1970s West Germany
      (pp. 208-223)
      Belinda Davis

      In the 1960s and 1970s, West Germany witnessed the burgeoning of two kinds of politics. The first was an intentionally provocative set of practices that deployed “theater” (visual as well as verbal communications), humor, and emotionally charged language to push beyond the more restrained, “reasoned” interventions putatively supported by the postfascist Western German state. The second has been described as “kitchen table” politics, that is, subcultural processes in non- or semipublic realms, often treated as representing a kind of retreat from politics. These practices were not necessarily specific to men or women, but they bore significant gendered aspects; in turn,...

    • Chapter 12 Civil Society-by-Design: Emerging Capitalism, Essentialist Feminism, and Women’s Nongovernmental Organizations in Postsocialist Eastern Europe
      (pp. 224-242)
      Kristen R. Ghodsee

      In the first decade following the collapse of communism, one of the official goals of Western intervention in the countries of Eastern Europe was the creation and promotion of civil society. Since socialist states had monopolized all economic enterprises and citizen’s organizations under the umbrella of the Communist Party, the dismantling of communism required the privatization and marketization of centralized economies as well as the establishment of an active voluntary or nonprofit sector that would be independent of both the state and the market. Historically, civil societies have been composed of private philanthropic and often religious associations and organizations that...

    • Chapter 13 The Rise of Welfare States and the Regendering of Civil Society: The Case of the United States
      (pp. 245-264)
      Sonya Michel

      Welfare provision has been one of the key building blocks of civil society. Civil society did not precede and allow the establishment of the myriad philanthropies and other voluntary organizations devoted to poor relief that have come to be regarded as one of the hallmarks of civil society; rather, the emergence of such associations helped toproducewhat came to be known as civil society. Here I echo historian Katherine Lynch, who writes, “Europeans did not somehow form communities and then, once they were established, go about the task of distributing various sorts of benefits. Providing relief to the poor...

    • Chapter 14 Fellow Feeling: A Transnational Perspective on Conceptions of Civil Society and Citizenship in “White Men’s Countries,” 1890–1910
      (pp. 265-284)
      Marilyn Lake

      In an essay called “Fellow Feeling as a Political Factor” published in the collectionThe Strenuous Lifein 1902, the United States president Theodore Roosevelt wrote:

      The fact remains that the only true solution of our political and social problems lies in cultivating everywhere the spirit of brotherhood, of fellow-feeling and understanding between man and man, and the willingness to treat a man as a man, which are the essential factors in American democracy…. The chief factor in producing such sympathy is simply association on a plane of equality.¹

      It was this association between “man and man” on “a plane of...

    • Chapter 15 “Bringing the State Back In”: Civil Society, Women’s Movements, and the State
      (pp. 285-301)
      Birgit Sauer

      In the last decade, European feminists have increasingly referred to civil society as a sphere that promises female autonomy and agency, selforganization without hierarchies, solidarity, gender democracy, and justice. These ideals are not new: feminists of the second-wave women’s movement have promoted the ideal of autonomy from the state since the 1970s, but they did not use the termcivil society. This has changed; nowadays, more and more feminist activists use the term and regard civil society as more promising for the feminist project than hierarchical, bureaucratic, androcentric state institutions or competitive, profit-oriented market relations. Civil society is seen, as...

  11. Civil Society, Public Space, and Gender Justice: A Selected Bibliography
    (pp. 302-308)
  12. Contributors
    (pp. 309-313)
  13. Index
    (pp. 314-324)