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Olive Schreiner Globalising Social Inquiry: A Feminist Analytics of Globalization

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)656-679
Number of pages24
JournalSociological Review
Volume58
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2010

Abstract

Globalization theory sees the processes of change it is concerned with as distinctively new, with a feminist analytics part of the newness of the current period too, focusing on some of the specific gender dynamics involved. However, the work of the feminist writer and social theorist Olive Schreiner (1855-1920) challenges, indeed overturns, such assumptions. Similar structural economic and political circumstances to those now called globalization were the focus of Schreiner's theorising, with her work demonstrating that 'it's been done before' in the case of a feminist analytics of global social change. Also, Schreiner's feminist interrogation of global change refused any confinement to gender (although it encompassed it), because for her gender was always already interconnected with class, 'race' and an array of wider structural forces and changes. Schreiner's unfolding analysis of imperialism and the expansionist project in the period 1888 to 1913, and of war, peace and social movements in the period 1914 to 1920, are discussed, in particular by presenting new material from Schreiner's extant letters and exploring the significant ways these add to the analysis in her published work. Over 4000 Schreiner letters are extant, are being researched by the Olive Schreiner Letters Project and provide an unparalleled resource for exploring the emergent analysis of a key feminist theorist

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