Heather Brook (auth.)'s Conjugal Rites: Marriage and Marriage-like Relationships PDF

By Heather Brook (auth.)

ISBN-10: 0230609376

ISBN-13: 9780230609372

ISBN-10: 1137480912

ISBN-13: 9781137480910

ISBN-10: 1349537268

ISBN-13: 9781349537266

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1996, 51). The liberal tradition’s refusal to countenance the significance of different embodiment has reinforced divisions between public and private spheres, constructing “the masculine” and “the feminine” always in opposition to each other, privileging the political capacities of men. 20 Ironically, feminist attention to corporeality has often been highly abstract. Gatens, for example, discusses the isomorphism between representations of the body politic and masculine political subjects. She argues that “[w]hat is required is a theoretical space that is not dominated by the isomorphism between male bodies and political bodies” (55).

Theorizing Conjugality 27 Most characterizations of marriage as an institution unwittingly reinforce a particular, historically specific model of marriage as the institution. That is, even as feminists challenge its justness, we reiterate and reinstitutionalize a single, historically fixed, theoretically rigid model of marriage. In other words, that “distancing” mechanism of institutionalization, which operates as a strength in some circumstances (allowing us to criticize marriage without attacking wives), can be seen, simultaneously, as a weakness.

Further, if heterosexuality eroticizes sexist power relations, then no amount of Theorizing Conjugality 23 matrimonial law reform will alleviate women’s subordination in marriage. Despite the fact that in many nations men and women are now formal equals (that is, they are purportedly equal in the eyes of the law), marriage remains the site most likely to harbor the perpetration of a range of atrocities against women. Rape and other sexual assaults, bodily harm, homicide, terror, and exploitation are all more likely to occur within a woman’s matrimonial home than outside it, and are much more likely to be committed by the victim’s husband than by a stranger (Carcach and James 1998, inter alia).

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Conjugal Rites: Marriage and Marriage-like Relationships before the Law by Heather Brook (auth.)

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