Playing the State

Playing the State:Australian Feminist Interventions

  • Paperback

For some years feminists across the world have been gaining more of a foothold in national and local government, establishing the first 'femocracy'. Their presence has started an important debate about the rules, and feminist ethics, of engaging with the state. One of the best opportunities to evaluate the progress of this debate is in Australia, where feminists have occupied positions of relative bureaucratic power since the mid seventies. The Questions raised by these interventions provide the focus for this collection: What com-promises have to be made in the political arena, and what progress is possible? What relations can a femocracy have with grassroots feminisms, and how much of its power is derived from them?

The first section, which challenges both Marxist and liberal accounts, suggests new ways of thinking about the state; examining the relationship of institutionalized feminism to a multicultural society. 'Official Feminism' is the subject of the second section, which includes accounts of women in trade unions, in industry, and in the legal arena. Finally, the book looks at the tensions between autonomy and state subsidy, the potential for reform from within, and the role of feminists in cultural production such as theatre and television.

These provocative essays by both activists and academics provide a challenging assessment of the practical implications of feminist intervention in systems of power, and have an immediate relevance to feminism worldwide.