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Mary Wollstonecraft’s Feminist Critique of Property. On Becoming a Thief From Principle

Halldenius, Lena LU (2014) In Hypatia 29(4). p.942-957
Abstract
The scholarship on Mary Wollstonecraft (1759-1797) is divided concerning her views on women’s role in public life, property rights and distribution of wealth. Her critique of inequality of wealth is undisputed, but is it a complaint only of inequality or does it strike more forcefully at the institution of property? The argument in this article is that Wollstonecraft’s feminism is partly defined by a radical critique of property, intertwined with her conception of rights. Dissociating herself from the conceptualization of rights in terms of self-ownership, she casts economic independence – a necessary political criterion for personal freedom – in terms of fair reward for work, not ownership. Her critique of property moves beyond issues of... (More)
The scholarship on Mary Wollstonecraft (1759-1797) is divided concerning her views on women’s role in public life, property rights and distribution of wealth. Her critique of inequality of wealth is undisputed, but is it a complaint only of inequality or does it strike more forcefully at the institution of property? The argument in this article is that Wollstonecraft’s feminism is partly defined by a radical critique of property, intertwined with her conception of rights. Dissociating herself from the conceptualization of rights in terms of self-ownership, she casts economic independence – a necessary political criterion for personal freedom – in terms of fair reward for work, not ownership. Her critique of property moves beyond issues of redistribution to a feminist appraisal of a property structure that turns people into either owners or owned, rights holders or things acquired. The main characters in Wollstonecraft’s last novel – Maria who is rich but has nothing, and Jemima, who steals as a matter of principle – illustrate the commodification of women in a society where even rights are regarded as possessions. (Less)
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author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
keywords
independence, inequality, rights, property, Mary Wollstonecraft, Locke, feminism, economic independence, self-ownership, freedom
in
Hypatia
volume
29
issue
4
pages
942 - 957
publisher
Wiley-Blackwell
external identifiers
  • wos:000344329600015
  • scopus:84912527806
ISSN
1527-2001
DOI
10.1111/hypa.12116
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
655d5755-5c4e-4ca4-bd1c-1e490f14d9c6 (old id 4332001)
date added to LUP
2014-02-28 07:32:06
date last changed
2017-01-27 11:00:32
@article{655d5755-5c4e-4ca4-bd1c-1e490f14d9c6,
  abstract     = {The scholarship on Mary Wollstonecraft (1759-1797) is divided concerning her views on women’s role in public life, property rights and distribution of wealth. Her critique of inequality of wealth is undisputed, but is it a complaint only of inequality or does it strike more forcefully at the institution of property? The argument in this article is that Wollstonecraft’s feminism is partly defined by a radical critique of property, intertwined with her conception of rights. Dissociating herself from the conceptualization of rights in terms of self-ownership, she casts economic independence – a necessary political criterion for personal freedom – in terms of fair reward for work, not ownership. Her critique of property moves beyond issues of redistribution to a feminist appraisal of a property structure that turns people into either owners or owned, rights holders or things acquired. The main characters in Wollstonecraft’s last novel – Maria who is rich but has nothing, and Jemima, who steals as a matter of principle – illustrate the commodification of women in a society where even rights are regarded as possessions.},
  author       = {Halldenius, Lena},
  issn         = {1527-2001},
  keyword      = {independence,inequality,rights,property,Mary Wollstonecraft,Locke,feminism,economic independence,self-ownership,freedom},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {4},
  pages        = {942--957},
  publisher    = {Wiley-Blackwell},
  series       = {Hypatia},
  title        = {Mary Wollstonecraft’s Feminist Critique of Property. On Becoming a Thief From Principle},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/hypa.12116},
  volume       = {29},
  year         = {2014},
}