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Democratic Theory on Gender - Dictionary of Arguments

Gaus I 281
Gender/Democratic theory/Mottier: Much of feminist theory has focused on the absence
of women from political theory. This theme was first addressed by authors such as Okin (1979)(1),
Elshtain (1981)(2), Pateman (1983)(3) and Arlene Saxonhouse (1985(4); see also Mottier, Sgier and Ballmer-Cao, 2000)(5). Their pioneering work demonstrated that modern political theory neglects to address the subordinated position attributed to women in classical theories of democracy. The
emergence of modern liberal democracy introduced a universalistic political discourse which claimed to be indifferent to gender or other identity differences.
Citizenship/Tradition: Mainstream political theory consequently considers citizenship as a universal concept. Democratic rights of social and political participation apply to each citizen without regard for his or her race, religion or gender.
FeminismVsTradition: Feminist authors have shown the central premises of universalistic conceptions of citizenship to be flawed due to gender bias. As the work of Vicky Randall (1998)(6), Ruth Lister (1997)(7) and Sylvia Walby (1994)(8) illustrates, women have been either excluded, or differentially included, in citizenship. >Citizenship/Gender theory, >Gender roles/Liberalism.


1. Okin, Susan Moller (1979) Women in Western Political Thought. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
2. Elshtain, Jean Bethke (1981) Public Man, Private Women: Women in Social and Political Thought. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
3. Pateman, Carole (1983) 'Feminist critiques of the public/private dichotomy'. In S. I. Benn and G. 4. Saxonhouse, Arlene (1985) Women in the History of Political Thought. New York: Praeger.
5. Mottier, Véronique, Lea Sgier and Than-Huyen Ballmer-Cao (2000) 'Les rapports entre le genre et la politique'. In Thanh-Huyen Ballmer-Cao, Véronique Mottier and Lea Sgier, eds, Genre et politique: Débats et perspectives. Paris: Gallimard.
6. Randall, Vicky (1998) 'Gender and power: women engage the state'. In Vicky Randall and Georgina Waylen, eds, Gende'; Politics and the State. London: Routledge, 185-205.
7. Lister, Ruth (1997) Citizenship: Feminist Perspectives. Basingstoke: Macmillan.
8. Walby, Sylvia (1994) 'Is citizenship gendered?' Sociology, 28 (2): 379-95.


Véronique Mottier 2004. „Feminism and Gender Theory: The Return of the State“. In: Gaus, Gerald F. & Kukathas, Chandran 2004. Handbook of Political Theory. SAGE Publications


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Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution. Translations: Dictionary of Arguments
The note [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.
Democratic Theory
Gaus I
Gerald F. Gaus
Chandran Kukathas
Handbook of Political Theory London 2004


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