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Human rights for women: an argument for 'deconstructive equality'

By Kate Nash

Abstract

The status of universalism has been much debated by feminists at the end of the twentieth century. Poststructuralist feminism is readily positioned in these debates as antagonistic to normative universalism. It is criticized as such: how is injustice to be judged and condemned if contestation and the openness of ungrounded universalism are the only ideals? This paper is a "sub-philosophical" enquiry into the normative commitments to equality implicit in poststructuralist feminism and its relationship to "actually existing" human rights for women as they have been re-worked by the international feminist movement. It argues that poststructuralist feminism can be used to provide support for one possible understanding of equality encoded in the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women. It addresses feminist concerns over universal rights as androcentric and ethnocentric, arguing that extending human rights to women is compatible with poststructuralist commitments to anti-essentialism and anti-foundationalism and required by the model of "deconstructive equality" implicitly shared by CEDAW and poststructuralist feminism

Publisher: Taylor and Francis
Year: 2002
OAI identifier: oai:eprints.gold.ac.uk:85

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