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Can feminism be thought of as a theory of law or, otherwise, fundamental in some way?

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Introduction

Jurisprudence (LS2007) Mr Thushara Kumarage 'Can feminism be thought of as a theory of law or, otherwise, fundamental in some way?' Richard Sutherland (03157563) 26 November 2004 As a concept, feminism is very much a modern notion within legal circles, which aims to eradicate any prejudice against women's rights. This in a society strongly founded upon a male-orientated legal system, which historically fails to recognise the social and legal rights of women, and instead focuses upon "male-orientated theories and ideologies."1 It is this patriarchy that feminists thrive to eliminate. The essence of patriarchy is emphasised by the Marxist legal theory, developed by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels in the 19th Century, which places no emphasis upon gender, and consequently belittles the feminists fight for gender equality. Juxtaposed with the rigid Marxist approach to legal rule is the postmodernist dialect that offers a "positive method of forcing individuals to confront and change the rigid contexts and structures (including laws) within which they have arbitrarily confined themselves."2 The ideology of feminism is split into three distinct categories, all of which work towards one common goal of removing gender prejudices: 1) Liberal feminism is grounded in "classical liberal thinking that individuals should be free to develop their own talents and pursue their own interests. Liberal feminists accept the basic organisation of our society but seek to expand the rights and opportunities of women. ...read more.

Middle

balanced equality, and thus "existing legal standards and concepts disadvantage women"14 as they merely incorporate women into existing male-orientated legal structures, rather than recreating the legal structures so as to be established upon male and female requirements. The above mentioned relationship between female legal theory and critical legal studies creates a clear enhancement, in regards to political knowledge and understanding of feminists legal argument, and consequently for the female legal theory. The noticeable thing to emphasise from this is the "disadvantaging effect of concealed and frequently unrealised bias in a legal order which has for the most part developed from male rather than female experience,"15 and has therefore produced a rather lopsided legal system in favour of men. This prejudice has now been identified, thanks to the relationship between critical legal studies and feminist legal theory, this identification can be perceived as a significant legal stepping stone towards a legal system that not only incorporates females, but is instead founded upon female and male experiences resulting in an equality which is not merely all encompassing in terms of a male perspective, but rather an equality that is derived from the experiences of both genders. Strongly contrasting the accommodating nature of critical legal studies in relation to female legal theories, are those theories of law and society created by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. ...read more.

Conclusion

Macionis and Ken Plummer 4 Sociology A Global Introduction - John J. Macionis and Ken Plummer 5 Resisting Patriarchy: The Women's Movement and Feminism 6 Textbook on Jurisprudence - Hilaire McCoubrey and Nigel D. White 7 'Dworkin, Which Dworkin? Taking Feminism Seriously' in P. Fitzpatrick and A. Hunt, eds., Critical Legal Studies (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1987), p.47.) 8 Textbook on Jurisprudence - Hilaire McCoubrey and Nigel D. White 9 Katherine T. Bartlett, 'Feminist Legal Method' (1970) 103 Harv L Rev, 829 10 Katherine T. Bartlett, 'Feminist Legal Method' (1970) 103 Harv L Rev, 829 11 Textbook on Jurisprudence - Hilaire McCoubrey and Nigel D. White 12 'Women in Confinement: Can Labour Law Deliver the Goods?' In Critical Legal Studies, p. 133 at p. 137. 13 Textbook on Jurisprudence - Hilaire McCoubrey and Nigel D. White 14 'Feminist Legal Methods' (1970) 103 Harv L Rev , p.829 at p.837. 15 Textbook on Jurisprudence - Hilaire McCoubrey and Nigel D. White 16 Textbook on Jurisprudence - Hilaire McCoubrey and Nigel D. White 17 Textbook on Jurisprudence - Hilaire McCoubrey and Nigel D. White 18 Sociology A Global Introduction - John J. Macionis and Ken Plummer 19 Textbook on Jurisprudence - Hilaire McCoubrey and Nigel D. White 20 Textbook on Jurisprudence - Hilaire McCoubrey and Nigel D. White 21 H. Barnett, Introduction to Feminist Theory (London: Cavendish Publishers, 1998, p. 180. 22 H. Barnett Introduction to Feminist Jurisprudence, pp. 1179-80 23 Textbook on Jurisprudence - Hilaire McCoubrey and Nigel D. White ?? ?? ?? ?? Richard Sutherland Jurisprudence 1 ...read more.

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