Feminism and the Siren Call of Law

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Drakopoulou, Maria (2007)

Feminists have so often declared and celebrated the fecundity of the relationship between feminism and legal reform that critique of legal doctrines and norms, together with proposals for their reconstruction, have become the hallmarks of the modern feminist engagement with law. Yet today the long-cherished 'truth' about law's potentially beneficial impact on women's lives has started to fade and the quest for legal change has become fraught with problems. In responding to the aporetic state in which feminist legal scholarship now finds itself, this paper offers a recounting of the relationship between feminism and the politics of legal reform. However, in so doing, it seeks to neither support nor oppose these politics. Instead, it explores the historical contingencies that made this discourse possible. Utilizing Foucault's concept of eposteme, it demarcates the nineteenth century as the historical moment in which this discourse arose, and tracing the epistemic shifts underpinning the production of knowledge, locates it's positivities ad the interface of the time's episteme and the discourse of transcendental subjectivity that it endangered.
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