(Dis)locating Gender: Ontological Crises and Political Strategies

Barbara L. Marshall


The feminist literature of the last decade has been rife with debates over the manner in
which gender has been conceptualized, its relationship to other axes of difference and its
adequacy in grounding political identities. This paper tracks debates about gender both
within feminism and in post/anti-feminist literature. Through an analysis of critiques of
gender from both moral conservatives and libertarians, it explores how the reassertion of
universality against particularity effaces material difference as an anchor for political
identities. In conclusion, gender is taken as an exemplary case of the ontological and
political crises of categorical identities.

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