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Hartmann The Unhappy Marriage Of Marxism And Feminism Notes

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Heidi Hartmann - The Unhappy Marriage of Marxism and Feminism: Towards a More Progressive Union (1979)

Marxism, though insightful regarding the laws of historical development, is sex-blind Feminism reveals the systemic character of relations between men and women, but has been blind to history and insufficiently materialist
○ We need an appropriate synthesis of the two, not a relationship in which Marxism is dominant

Marxism and the Woman Question
● Marxist analysis explore the relationship of women to the economic system, rather than the relationship of women to men, assuming that the latter will be explained by the former
● Why does theorists' Marxism so dominate their feminism?
○ partly because Marxism has such explanatory power over so many aspects of capitalist society - the structure of production; the generations of a particular occupational structure, the nature of the dominant ideology
■ but although Marxism can explain the existence of positions in capitalist society, it cannot explain who will fill them (e.g. men/women) Radical Feminism and Patriarchy
● Women's discontent is a response to a social structure in which women are systematically dominated, exploited, and oppressed
○ women have an inferior position in the labour market, the emotional structure of marriage is male-centred, women's psyche is understood as neurotic
● According to radical feminists, male character traits are the search for power and domination, egocentricity, individualism, competitiveness and pragmatism
○ females are nurturing, artistic and philosophical
■ the fact that this has not been true of all history shows that feminism is blind to history
● in spite of this, patriarchy is incredibly resilient and has dominated in one form or another form most human history Towards a Definition of Patriarchy
● Patriarchy is a set of social relations with a material base which, although hierarchical, creates an interdependence/solidarity among men that enables them to dominate women
○ hierarchies work through those at the top buying off those below with power e.g. in patriarchy men are bought off with control over women
● The material base of patriarchy is men's control over women's labour power
○ this is achieved by the exclusion of women from access to production resources (e.g. good wages) and restricting women's sexuality
■ these can both be achieved through monogamous heterosexual marriage
○ women are controlled, exploited, dominated both 'personally' (i.e. in the family setting) and 'publicly' (i.e. in employment)
○ just as class society is reproduced by schools, work places, consumption norms etc, so patriarchal relations are reproduced
■ children are raised by women defined as inferior to men
■ churches, schools, sports, clubs, unions, armies, factories, offices, health centres,

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