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Title: Dilemmas of British and Italian feminist movements and critical social theory : reflexive critiques
Author: Kingston, Stephen.
Awarding Body: University of Birmingham
Current Institution: University of Birmingham
Date of Award: 2002
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In this thesis critical social theory is used to assess the historical status of modern feminist movements, the experience of which is used in turn to assess the usefulness of certain key concepts from critical social theory. In particular Habermas' concept of the ideal speech situation is used to determine how far feminist movements fall into the tradition of earlier uni versalising social movements. This concept is used both to analyse the forms of the movements (their structures and practices) and their substantive activity in the area of political demands. The ideal speech situation indicates that feminist movements were in a state of permanent tension between competing commitments, especially universalist and particularist imperatives. This dual logic can be seen in the pursuit of a renegotiation of the publicI private divide. It can also be seen in the debates among feminists in the educational context. In conclusion, it is suggested that feminist movements were both dependent on and undermined by the tension between universalism and particularism. However, the problems raised by these movements give indications that the ideal speech situation may prove inadequate as a normative guide, particularly owing to the problems relating to fertility explored by feminism.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available