“The Many Faces of Hegemony: Patriarchy and Welfare as a Women’s Issue,” Northwestern University Law Review 92:327 (1997) (reviewing Mimi Abramovitz, Under Attack, Fighting Back: Women and Welfare Reform in the United States (1996)).
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Abstract: In Under Attack, Fighting Back Professor Mimi Abramovitz distills a long and formidable life of work for the dignity of women, generally, and poor women, in particular, within our culture. To this end, Professor Abramovitz offers an alternative perspective on the welfare wars. The battlefields of that war are located within three spheres—the legislature, the academy, and the streets. She would have women mobilize to take a certain measure o control over state systems fo welfare relief. For it is on the basis of this gender-based ownership of institutional poor relief that women will be able to begin the task of breaking the back of patriarchy and its creature, capitalism. But the preceding description also reveals the central tension of the work of Professor Abramowitz and the school of activist scholarship she represents. In this essay, I will examine the tendency of this school to urge the adoption of many of the core assumptions of capitalism and patriarchy as the most expedient means of ushering in an age in which both patriarchy and capitalism disappear. I suggest that, in the face of the pragmatic realities of Professor Abramowitz’s political program, the transformative theory she champions is reduced to mere propaganda. As deceptive sloganeering, such a program does not produce the desired liberation. Instead, it serves t disguise the way in which her program can reproduce, in new form, the very oppressions which this “liberatory” program is meant to overturn. Professor Abramovitz runs the risk of substituting one set of gendered tyrannies for another.
Book Review, Social & Legal Studies 6:455 (1997) (Eng.) (Reviewing, Carl F. Stychin, Law’s Desire: Sexuality and the Limits of Justice (1995)).
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