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How has feminist social theory changed over the last 3 decades Which current do you find most satisfying at an intellectual and political level In this essay I want to analyse how feminist theory has changed since the 1970s However I want to examine the importance of sex gender and social theory vis--vis class and race and to show that the experience of oppression by white women and women of colour can be very different I believe that to examine the issues of sex gender and social theory at the theoretical level only and without illustrating the discussion with reality is ultimately a fruitless exercise On the subject of which current do you find most satisfying at an intellectual and political level the answer to this question will be implicit throughout this essay Traditional sociological analysis has in the past tended to look at class racism and sexism as separate issues Orthodox Marxian class analysis for instance presumed a level of homogeneity and unity among the working class which if it ever did exist certainly does not exist today The immediate issues raised by the presence of women blacks and other sub-ordinate groups in the political institutions of the working class carry with them profound theoretical questions which reach into the heart of Marxian explanation What is the working class today What gender is it What colour is it How in the light of its obvious segmentation is it to be unified Gilroy 1987 pg19 What was left was an inadequate system of analysis when having to consider race and gender The same problem was found in traditional feminist analysis Womanhood was talked about as a universal experience as was the oppression that women suffered In fact what was been written about was the experience of oppression of white generally middle-class women By largely ignoring issues of race and racism and to some extent class feminism and the womens movement
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