RECURSOS Notebooks for Study and Research Marriage and Divorces Between Marxism and Feminism

Marriage and Divorces Between Marxism and Feminism

Cinzia Arruzza, Member of the IIRE Board and Assistant Professor in Philisophy at the New School for Social Research in New York, has written a short overview of the relations between the Marxist and feminist movement in practice and theory from the nineteenth century to the present day. Entitled “Le relazioni pericolose, Matrimoni e divorzi tra marxismo e femminismo” (The dangerous relationships, Marriage and divorces between Marxism and feminism), this book has already been translated into Spanish and Portuguese, German and Turkish translations are underway and an English edition is planned for publication by the IIRE.

As Arruzza explains in her introduction “This small book aims to be a short and accessible introduction to the question of the relationship between the women’s movement and the social movement, and to the relationship between gender and class. The first two chapters rapidly reconstitute some of the historical experiences that have signified an important moment in both the process of women’s self-organisation and emancipation, and the convergences and conflicts with the workers’ movement during this process. The last two chapters give a brief panorama of the theoretical debates concerning the relationship between sexual and gender oppression and exploitation, aiming to bring out the problem that arise from the different conceptions proposed and that still remain unresolved today.”

She explains “this is not an impartial is written on the basis of certain convictions and demands”. These are first that “it is urgent to think theoretically about the relationship between gender and exploitation, and above all the way in which capitalism has integrated and profoundly modified patriarchal structures” because this is “absolutely necessary for a Marxism that wants to understand the transformations and crisis in progress, in which globalisation is bringing about an increasing feminisation of the labour force, leading to a transformation in the relationship between the sexes.” The second, “closely linked to the first”, is that from this understanding should follow “attempts at organisation and political action which aim to overcome the distance created between the feminist movement and the class struggle”.

It is thus an important addition to writings in this field, emanating from a feminist whose experience, reflected in her writing, is not that of the 1960s and 70s but, in Italy in particular, of the first decade of the 21st century.

Review by IIRE Fellow Penelope Duggan

RECURSOS Notebooks for Study and Research Marriage and Divorces Between Marxism and Feminism