Gender in the liberal tradition: Hobhouse on the family

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This article examines L.T. Hobhouse's views on gender and the family, placing Hobhouse within a larger history of the relationship between liberalism and feminism. While Hobhouse accepts J.S. Mill's earlier advocacy of female suffrage and property rights, he abandons Mill's suspicion of gender and the family as sites of power and repression. Instead, Hobhouse's concept of social harmony leads him to idealize the nuclear family and the respective gender differences within the framework of the welfare apparatus. Hobhouse is therefore one of the seams at which the critical, liberal feminist perspective espoused by Mill came apart and so precipitated the construction of a separate, feminist perspective.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)700-725
Number of pages26
JournalHistory of Political Thought
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • History
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Philosophy


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