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Recognizing Marriage as a Symbolic Institution

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Abstract:

In this paper I consider on what grounds feminists might still object to marriage, and ask what, if any, reforms would best answer these objections. My argument has two parts. First, I outline the main feminist criticisms of marriage, and conclude that they are diverse and not easily compatible. As a result, there are no reforms of the institution of marriage that are uncontroversially feminist. Second, I argue that marriage must most crucially be understood, both in feminist critiques and in mainstream patriarchy, as a symbolic institution. Marriage endorses and strengthens particular roles and values. This observation leads, I argue, to a congruence between feminist and liberal values, with both positions best served by the abolition of marriage as a legal category.

Author's Keywords:

marriage,feminism,liberalism,sexuality,equality,autonomy,symbolic
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Name: American Political Science Association
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http://www.apsanet.org


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MLA Citation:

Chambers, Clare. "Recognizing Marriage as a Symbolic Institution" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Political Science Association, Marriott Wardman Park, Omni Shoreham, Washington Hilton, Washington, DC, Sep 01, 2005 <Not Available>. 2013-12-17 <http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p41259_index.html>

APA Citation:

Chambers, C. E. , 2005-09-01 "Recognizing Marriage as a Symbolic Institution" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Political Science Association, Marriott Wardman Park, Omni Shoreham, Washington Hilton, Washington, DC <Not Available>. 2013-12-17 from http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p41259_index.html

Publication Type: Conference Paper/Unpublished Manuscript
Review Method: Peer Reviewed
Abstract: In this paper I consider on what grounds feminists might still object to marriage, and ask what, if any, reforms would best answer these objections. My argument has two parts. First, I outline the main feminist criticisms of marriage, and conclude that they are diverse and not easily compatible. As a result, there are no reforms of the institution of marriage that are uncontroversially feminist. Second, I argue that marriage must most crucially be understood, both in feminist critiques and in mainstream patriarchy, as a symbolic institution. Marriage endorses and strengthens particular roles and values. This observation leads, I argue, to a congruence between feminist and liberal values, with both positions best served by the abolition of marriage as a legal category.

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Associated Document Available American Political Science Association
Associated Document Available Political Research Online
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