Friday, October 08, 2010

What is a Good Work of Macrosociological Feminist Theory to Teach?

For two years I have been trying to find the right feminist book to teach in my "Macrosociological Theory" course. It has been surprisingly hard to find the right thing. This year I am using Betty Friedan's The Feminine Mystique. It was an important book, and the students have found it the most accessible of anything we have read so far. Nonetheless, it is not really a theory book.

I looked at Nancy Chodorow's The Reproduction of Mothering. This is more theoretical, but is not really macrosociology.

I have consulted with a number of people far better read in feminist theory than I am. To all of our surprise, it has been hard to find a book that really fits the bill. We can think of several calls for developing a macrosociological feminist theory - Heidi Hartmann's and Patricia Hill Collins' have been named several times. But I have yet to find a work that weaves together feminist theory and some kind of empirical analysis of society at the macro level.

I think the main reason is because the movement that made clear that "the personal is political" has done the bulk of its work thinking about the micro level.

I am open to suggestions for works to teach, and analyses of why they are so hard to come by.

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