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Law General

Law as a Gendering Practice

edited by Dorothy E. Chunn & Dany Lacombe

Oxford University Press
Initial publish date
Jan 2000
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Jan 2000
    List Price

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This book comes about as a result of the problems that face contemporary feminists who teach, research, and write about the law. The goal of the editors in this volume is to build on, and empirically flesh out, the feminist argument that law cannot be thought of as simply a determining force in the defining of 'woman,' but the law must be thought of as a site of struggle. Traditionally, feminist research takes the view that law produces effects that discipline, control, and regulate women. This book will avoid these depictions of law as a malevolent actor, and will instead concentrate on the struggles over meanings about gender. The editors and contributors to this volume explore and analyze law as a 'gendering practice.' This 'gendering practice' assumes that law is a practice that interacts with other practices to produce meanings about gender.

The editors' analysis focuses on and illustrates the complex and often contradictory workings of legal discourse. The book will demonstrate how legal discourse participates in the defining and construction of 'woman' and thereby reproduces the social relations of power that we find in contemporary law. While they may focus on diverse aspects of the law, all of the contributors address the same issue in their respective analyses: how legal struggles over meanings about gender are reproduced, legitimized, and refashioned.

About the authors


Dorothy E. Chunn, Professor of Sociology, received her B.A. in English and History from the University of British Columbia and her M.A. and Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Toronto. Her research and publications are concentrated primarily in the area of feminist socio-legal studies. Recent research projects have focused on feminism, law, and social change in Canada since the 1960s; poor women’s experiences of health and housing; and the reform of Canadian child custody law.


Dorothy E. Chunn's profile page

Dany Lacombe is Professor of Sociology at Simon Fraser University

Dany Lacombe's profile page

Other titles by Dorothy E. Chunn

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