13.3 Conclusion

Dr. Jackie F. Steele

In the previous pages, I have mapped the contours of the evolution of multiple variants of feminisms, feminist political and legal philosophies, and what I invite us to think of and describe as the historic contributions of women’s democratic thought leadership. While Squires’ typological discussion of liberal feminism, radical feminism, and postmodern feminism offers the interpretative frames with which to make sense of the first core herstories of feminisms around ‘equality politics’, ‘difference politics’ and ‘displacement politics’, the last three decades in particular have seen a fourth and fifth variant of feminist thought leadership that moves beyond Butler’s hyper-individualist view of the rule of law.

What I describe above as a current of reconstructivist intersectional feminisms have shown themselves to be productively investing in the democratic displacement of the universal, abstract citizen-subject in law and policy on the one hand, and in the democratic displacement of the universal, abstract elected representative as the authentic and ethical agent of collective self-government on the other. By virtue of these last two variants of contemporary feminisms, and through this updated typology, I propose to shed light on the different strategies of displacement working towards displacement of anti-democratic legal norms through legal battles and law reform, or that are working to diversify the “usual suspects” animating political parties and parliaments by innovating and advocating for electoral reforms that force greater power-sharing and diversification of our political representatives.

Finally, the last variant, of which I am an advocate, combines feminist intersectional electoral systems designs with critical democratic theory and philosophical engagement with forgotten forms of relational liberty, such as that defended from within republican revival. This latest variant aims for a more fundamental displacement of liberal-individualism’s disempowering monopoly over the social imaginary of what might constitute a meaningful enjoyment of public liberty itself. It seeks a more ethical and emancipatory reconstruction of a deeply relational form of political liberty that might serve as the foundation of a radically representative democratic politics grounded upon power-sharing, co-authority and intersectional self-determination.

Discussion Questions

  1. How can we design a political community or country wherein all forms of individuality have equal opportunity and influence to contribute to our society?
  2. Why are “equality politics” and “difference politics” caught within the same binary paradigm?
  3. Why and how does intersectional feminism make the gender binary obsolete?
  4. What is the role of law within democratic self-government and who should decide the rules regulating electoral competition?
  5. How is individualistic liberty ethically different from relational liberty?



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Political Ideologies and Worldviews: An Introduction Copyright © 2021 by Dr. Jackie F. Steele is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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