Explaining the Power of Gendered Subjectivity

Current Perspectives in Social Theory 29:117-130 (2011)
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This chapter is a critical review of Amy Allen's book The Politics of Our Selves. It briefly reconstructs some of the book's impressive achievements: articulating a synthetic account of gendered subjectivity that accounts for both subjection and autonomy; imaginatively integrating poststructuralist and communicative theories; and, furthering important new interpretations of Butler, Foucault, and Habermas. It also raises critical concerns about Allen's project: her specific conception of autonomy and its justification; her suspicions of the notion of historical progress; her psychological explanation of the continuing power of pernicious norms of gendered subjectivity; the usefulness of psychoanalysis for critical social theory; and, the role of cultural, structural, and materialist explanations and political strategies.

Author's Profile

Christopher Zurn
University of Massachusetts, Boston


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