The Elgar Companion to Social Economics, Second Edition
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The Elgar Companion to Social Economics, Second Edition

Edited by John B. Davis and Wilfred Dolfsma

Social economics is a dynamic and growing field that emphasizes the key roles social values play in the economy and economic life. This second edition of the Elgar Companion to Social Economics revises all chapters from the first edition, and adds important new chapters to reflect the expansion and development of social economics. The expert contributions explain a wide range of recent developments across different subject areas and topics in the field, mapping out possible directions of future social economic research. Social economics treats the economy and economics as embedded in a web of social and ethical relationships. It considers 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. This book will be a leading resource and guide to social economics for many years to come.
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Chapter 13: Feminism and/in economics

Edith Kuiper


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).

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