Is patriarchy an illness of democratic societies or a structural problem? To answer this dilemma, Back Over the Sexual Contract: A Hegelian Critique of Patriarchy examines the dilemma of patriarchy in modern European political theory by reopening the question of the "sexual contract." Through a study of the thought of Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, and Immanuel Kant, Lorenzo Rustighi argues that the conceptual roots of male patriarchal entitlement should be sought in the logic of authorized power that underpins the modern understanding of both the state and the family. Challenging the mainstream distinction between the private and the public, Rustighi provocatively suggests that patriarchy is not something that undermines democracy as an alien threat, but is rather inscribed in the intrinsically anti-democratic effects of the concept of democracy construed by the modern rationale of the social contract. He puts forward a Hegelian argument to propose an unconventional constitutional approach to feminist political theory that helps us rethink democracy beyond its inherent impasses.
Lorenzo Rustighi is researcher in political philosophy at the University of Padova.
List of Abbreviations
Chapter 1: Thomas Hobbes: Sovereign Fathers
Chapter 2: John Locke: Patriarchal Trust
Chapter 3 : Jean-Jacques Rousseau: Governing Mothers
Chapter 4: Immanuel Kant: The Feminine Multitude
Conclusion: Hegel: Democracy and Difference
About the Author
"To banish the patriarchy of modern social contract theories, by reinserting the concept of ‘the good’, and ‘good governance,’ is a brave project for the world that we face."
"Back Over the Sexual Contract: A Hegelian Critique of Patriarchy is a must read for anyone interested in the history of political thought."