The Elgar Companion to Social Economics
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The Elgar Companion to Social Economics

Edited by John B. Davis and Wilfred Dolfsma

As this comprehensive Companion demonstrates, social economics is a dynamic and growing field that emphasizes the key role that values play in the economy and in economic life. Social economics treats the economy and economics as being embedded in the larger web of social and ethical relationships. It also regards economics and ethics as essentially connected, and adds values such as justice, fairness, dignity, well-being, freedom and equality to the standard emphasis on efficiency. The Elgar Companion to Social Economics brings together the leading contributors in the field to elucidate a wide range of recent developments across different subject areas and topics. In so doing the contributors also map the likely trends and directions of future research. This Companion will undoubtedly become a leading reference source and guide to social economics for many years to come.
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Chapter 12: Feminism and/in Economics

Edith Kuiper


Edith Kuiper 1. Introduction Feminism is as old as humanity. Women have been standing up to defend their equality with men and their rights as women over the centuries, using all possible means of publication available. The first feminist texts and publications emerged in the late Middle Ages and their number increased in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Organized feminism is a phenomenon of a more recent date: the first women’s organizations were founded around 1850. We, contemporary readers, are used to perceiving the most recent feminist wave as ‘the second wave of feminism’. Historians, however, have identified many more feminist waves, up to six or more in Western history (see, e.g., Akkerman and Stuurman, 1998; Offen, 2000). Since the early Enlightenment, the dawn of economic science, four feminist waves have occurred and had an impact on economics as a science. Feminist historians of economics claim that (anti-)feminism and economic science developed not separately, but that, instead, these developments were closely linked (Pujol, 1992; Seiz, 1993; Nelson, 1995). Images around the roles of women and men in the reproductive process are reflected in the use of metaphors in science and importantly have structured the conceptualization of objectivity and rationality (see, e.g., Keller, 1987; Harding, 1986; Bordo, 1987). In economic science notions of sex and gender have had an impact on the way concepts such as ‘skills’, ‘labour’, ‘productivity’ and ‘value’ were given content (Seiz, 1992; Nelson, 1995). In her book Feminism and Anti-Feminism in Early Economic...

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