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Authority Neither Male Nor Female: Steps Toward a More Subtle Democratic Theory

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Type: Working Paper
Author: Allen, Barbara
Date: 1984
Agency: Workshop in Political Theory and Policy Analysis, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN
Series: Workshop Working Paper Series W84-12
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/3925
Sector: Social Organization
Subject(s): democracy--theory
Hobbes, Thomas
Mill, John Stuart
Abstract: "The patriarchal paradigm, a cornerstone theory for centuries to the ideology of the absolute, divinely ordained rule of kings, was given most coherent formulation in opposition to intellectual and revolutionary challenges in seventeenth-century England. Hobbes's analysis of social relationships as human artifacts represents a primary expostulation of this view that authority relationships within such social organizations as the family and the political order were natural, determinant, and immutable. Locke, in remonstrances directed to the patriarchalists, also attacks the view of political order as given by God to the sons of Adam. However, Locke differs from Hobbes in arguing that political artifacts and social artifacts, such as the family, are not homologues. Locke then can lead the challenge against the patriarchalists' theory of the political order while leaving other aspects of this paradigm in place. "Although for many scholars Locke's writings settled the issues patriarchalism raised for political order, the remaining influence of patriarchalism has affected the theoretical development of liberalism, republicanism, and democracy. The writings of J.S. Mill and the observations of the American experiment in democracy by Tocqueville suggest that the theories of liberal democracy and applications which denied full citizenship for women in the designed political order offered contradictions which could not easily be swept away. In the twentieth-century writings of Beauvoir, we are brought again to Hobbes's analysis of authority which is neither male nor female, and the relationship between political artifacts and human artificers with her critique of the organizational structure and costs of sexist relationships. Beauvoir's analysis coupled with that of Tocqueville suggests that democratic theory does not reach its normative ends in the context of artificially imposed gender inequalities."

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