This key work addresses one of the most central and controversial issues in contemporary feminist theory: the problem of difference. Hekman argues that the current focus on differences among women - race, class, sexual orientation, and ethnicity - necessitates a new approach to feminist social critique.Hekman traces the history of feminist accounts of difference, from Simone de Beauvoir to Donna Haraway and beyond. She examines the ways in which feminists have tried to erase, emphasize or pluralize difference. She argues that we need new definitions of method and truth which avoid the twin liabilities of universalistic assumptions and postmodern nihilism. Hekman develops an approach that recognizes differences between women without abandoning the general concepts which are necessary to social critique. She employs the work of many contemporary theorists, including Weber, Gadamer and Wittgenstein, to formulate a new feminist methodology and epistemology for the social sciences. This new approach will help to define truths rather than truth, differences rather than difference, in future feminist thought.
This important book will be essential reading for advanced undergraduate students, postgraduates and scholars in feminist theory, philosophy and political theory.
Susan Hekman is Professor of Political Science, University of Texas at Arlington.