Feminism and Politics: A Comparative Perspective

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University of California Press, Jan 1, 1989 - Social Science - 267 pages
This incisive work provides a comparative political analysis of the women's movement in England, the United States, and Sweden from the 1960s to the present. Based on extensive interviews in each of the three countries, Feminism and Politics focuses not only on the internal dynamics of the movements themselves, but also on the relationship of feminist politics to the political process as a whole and to the economic and ideological context.

Gelb finds that differences in the feminist movements in each country relate to systemic and cultural differences. In Britain the closed nature of the political system has greatly narrowed opportunities for feminist political activities. By contrast, the feminist movement in the United States has enjoyed relative autonomy and success, primarily because it has been unconstrained by the necessity of working through existing groups such as unions and political parties. In Sweden Gelb finds an anomalous situation in which the state has implemented many feminist policies but has allowed little ideological or political space for an autonomous movement.

In its scope and analysis, Feminism and Politics offers a valuable new perspective on women's political activities.

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Social Movements
The Role of Women in Parties and Unions
Feminism Without Feminists?
Methodological Appendix

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