Deliberative households: Republicans, liberals, and the public-private split

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This article is concerned with the relationship between feminism on the one hand, and republicanism and liberalism on the other hand. Feminism is interested in dissolving the private-public boundary by politicizing the home and challenging role divisions within it. Some scholars have suggested advancing this project by importing the republican view of political contest as a good in itself: no claim to privacy may stand against it, so that received family structures may be exposed to debate and change. In contrast to such views, I argue that a perception of the home as a ground on which autonomous actors meet for open-ended engagement is incompatible with republicanism, and that republican ideas, in their turn, undermine efforts to open up the private sphere for deliberation. On the other hand, the liberal focus on protecting individuality provides a basis for deliberation in the home and so is compatible with the idea of persistent contestation in multiple arenas.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)653-663
Number of pages11
JournalPolitical Research Quarterly
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science


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