In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

128 LEITERS IN CANADA 1998 divide-and-rule strategy of the various governments in attempting to use women as the front line in attacking women's groups. I found her assessment of the strategy of the women's groups disappointing . Here I have to declare my bias as one of the subjects under study, since I led the National Action Committee on the Status of Women during the end of the Mulroney era. Bashevkin seems to suggest that the gains made under the Mulroney Conservatives were despite the more radical stance of the Canadian women's movement rather than because of it. Bashevkin suggests that NAC'S high-profile opposition to core Mulroney initiatives like free trade and the Charlottetown Accord made it too much of a target. I think she underestimates the success of what she calls the confrontational tactics OfNAC and NAC'S alliance with the labour movement and other social justice groups. She also fails to examine the developments within the women's movement,inparticular the rise ofidentity politics and how it was much more divisive in Britain and the United States than in Canada. Nevertheless Women on the Defensive is an important contribution to a feminist analysis of political change and a fascinating read as well. (JUDY REBICK) Stanley G. French, Wanda Teays, and Laura M. Purdy, editors. Violence against Women: Philosophical Perspectives Cornell University Press. xii, 260. us $16.95 Philosophical discourse has not yet produced a full-bodied literature on the subjects of violence and nonviolence (compared to, say, epistemology). When the subject is gender-specific, violence against women, we find a dismaying shortage of writings. Yet, as the editors say in their introduction to this anthology, the forms of violence that are gender-specific cry out for philosophical analysis. Concepts such as consent, coercion, the self, embodiment , epistemic authority, and human rights, for example, mustbe examined in the social, political, economic, and legal contexts in which women live their lives amid violence that systemically targets girls and women. The authors in this book do an excellent job of taking up such questions in an informative and responsible manner. Topics include sexual and domestic violence, female genital mutilation, sexual harassment, pornography , prostitution, economic development, and resistance and prevention, and violence is considered in medical and legal contexts as well as in domestic and warsettings. While I found nearly all the articles enlightening and cogent, I might wish for some of the assumptions that held together this anthology to be articulated. For example, what is the metaphysical I glue' that holds together emotional, physical, sexual, and economic violence , and how do these forms differ? Roksana Nazneen says that 'emotional violence is no less damaging than physical'; readers may want conceptual clarification on this point. Nazneen also states that 'violent acts HUMANITIES 129 are the same in every society. It is the "justifications" that may differ from society to society.' But are violent acts the same everywhere? It's nearly always a matter of controversy to decide what counts as violence and what to exclude from that category. Robert Audi, trying to pin down the scope, gives a very specific and narrow definition that depends on vigour or malice. Newton Garver says that 'violence in human affairs amounts to violating the rights of persons.' According to Jean-Marie Domenach, 'violence is an expression of a desire to be recognized by the other and to take possession of the other,I and Anne Norton defines it as I an act of authority in which one identity inscribes itself upon another, altering that identity's meaning.' Pierre Mertens, on the other hand, says that 'violence is injustice and inequality wherever it may appear' and Andrew McKenna says that 'symbolic indirection and misrepresentation are structural and systemic ... a certain violence transpires in the determination of concepts and differences.' I didn't find a clear definition of violence until well into the book, and it would have helped had the editors provided a discussion of this issue and laid out a framework for thinking about it. I wonder if the editors assumed a metaphysical stance - moral realism? - while putting together this collection. And while some authors included a discussion of...


Additional Information

Print ISSN
pp. 128-130
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.