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On Civic Friendship: Including Women in the State [Hardcover]

Sibyl A. Schwarzenbach


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Book Description

Nov. 12 2009

Women have performed the vast majority of often unpaid friendship labor for centuries. Embodying the freedom, equality, and ideals of the Constitution, civic friendship emerges as a necessary condition for genuine justice. Through a critical examination of social and political relationships from ancient times to today, Sibyl Schwarzenbach develops a truly innovative, feminist theory of the democratic state.

Beginning with an analysis of Aristotle's notion of political friendship, Schwarzenbach brings the philosopher's insights to bear on the social and political requirements of the modern state. She elaborates a conception of civic friendship that, with its ethical reproductive praxis, functions differently from male-centered notions of fraternity and, with its female participants, remains fundamentally separate from generalized, male-inflected claims of Marxist solidarity. Schwarzenbach also distinguishes civic friendship from feminist calls for public care, arguing that friendship, unlike care, not only is reciprocal but also seeks to establish and maintain equality.

Schwarzenbach concludes with various public institutions-economic, legal, and social-that can promote civic friendship without sacrificing crucial liberties. In fact, women's entrance into the public sphere en masse makes such ideals realistic within a competitive, individualistic society.


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Review

This book provides clear and thoughtful re-readings of the tradition from a feminist perspective and reincorporates a classical notion of civil society... recommended.

(Choice 1900-01-00)

Review

Sibyl Schwarzenbach takes a large view of political philosophy, both its history and its contemporary manifestations, but stays selective in her treatment of social philosophers from Aristotle to John Rawls. Her book is a substantial accomplishment, on both the historical and systematic levels, and is presented vigorously and appealingly.

(Allen Wood, Stanford University and Indiana University)

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Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  1 review
1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Exposing the biased and gendered foundations of the modern political state Dec 11 2009
By ROROTOKO - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
"On Civic Friendship" is on the ROROTOKO list of cutting-edge intellectual nonfiction. Professor Schwarzenbach's book interview ran here as cover feature on December 7, 2009.

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