Feminism and Marxism: Questions on the field of struggle

Research output: Contribution to specialist publicationArticle

Abstract / Description of output

Opening with a discussion of the relationship and tension between Marxism and feminism, the article argues for the specificity of Marxist feminist analysis in relation to other currents of feminism on the left. Drawing on Susan Watkins, the article contends that capitalist strategy has contributed to shaping the intellectual trajectory of feminism as known today. This trajectory developed under a complex hegemony that entailed, among other things, the Cold War and the end of Bretton Woods in relation to postmodernism and cultural imperialism, ideological uses of the ‘middle class’, and technologies that increasingly challenge the clear distinction between production and reproduction. The analysis is specifically concerned with (a) how histories of reactionary but also progressive ideas formed under this hegemony (b) the pull of/to immateriality in a perceived ‘post-industrial’ society, and the relevance of both to feminism. The article revisits the debate of Judith Butler and Nancy Fraser from 1997 as encapsulating the roots of a divide within left feminism – one related to understandings of intersectionality, a popular concept also in Marxist feminism. Intersectionality brings together salient political categories (such as gender, race, class), the question for Marxist feminism being: how? It is argued that intersectionality, coined at a specific moment of American cultural history and in relation to postmodernism’s spatialising imaginary, is not always and necessarily compatible with Marxist feminism’s focus on a social totality forming out of a mode of production and reproduction. To demonstrate this, the article concludes by considering Ashley Bohrer’s influential interpretation of intersectionality. Overall, the article argues for a Marxist feminism that attends closely to the key tendencies, possibilities and contradictions of 21st-century capitalism and what hegemony consists of - as a first step towards re/thinking the priorities and specificity of struggle.
Original languageEnglish
Specialist publicationΚΡΙΣΗ - Εξαμηνιαία Επιστημονική Επιθεώρηση / KRISI - Biannual Scientific Review
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 13 Sept 2023

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Marxism
  • feminism
  • capitalism
  • intersectionality
  • social reproduction
  • technology


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