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Feminist Economics

Interrogating the Masculinity of Rational Economic Man
Gillian J. Hewitson, Visiting Professor, Franklin and Marshall College, Pennsylvania, US
This ground-breaking new book will be essential reading for scholars of feminist economics and women’s studies.
Extent: 288 pp
Hardback Price: £85.00 Online: £76.50
Publication Date: 1999
ISBN: 978 1 85898 946 4
Availability: In Stock
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  • Economics and Finance
  • Methodology of Economics
Feminist economists have produced a wide range of critical analyses of the various forms of masculinity within neoclassical economics. This book employs a feminist poststructuralist approach to reveal the masculinity of the allegedly unsexed figure, ‘rational economic man’.

Gillian Hewitson constructs an alternative approach to the question of masculinity in neoclassical economics, using a range of poststructuralist and feminist poststructuralist writing, the centrepiece of which may be seen as the notion of the body, rather than gender, as a cultural product. The author argues that neoclassical economics actively constructs sexual differences as meaningful by using case studies of the neoclassical teaching device, Robinson Crusoe, and the surrogate motherhood exchange. The book concludes that the notion of the exchanging agent, as a supposedly universal and hence disembodied individual, cannot accommodate sexual differences and thus the female body.

This ground-breaking new book will be essential reading for scholars of feminist economics and women’s studies.
‘The book provides rich pickings for a range of readers.’
– Sarah Paddle, Arena Magazine

‘Feminist Economics is the first book-length application of the feminist poststructuralist approach to the understanding of neoclassical economics. The book is distinguished by an explanation of poststructuralism that will be understandable to economists, and a rich multi-layered analysis of the production of masculinity and femininity in neoclassical thought. . . . this book belongs in the collection of every feminist economist, for many reasons. It provides a comprehensive survey of the development of the field in the context of its use of different theories of feminist knowledge. It also clearly delineates the contours of poststructuralist feminism, and therefore contributes to a better understanding of this approach among economists. And as a feminist critique, it provides fresh insights into the androcentric discourse of neoclassical economics.’
– Suzanne Bergeron, Review of Radical Political Economics

‘Hewitson’s book is an example of rich feminist analysis in economics that deserves attention from a variety of economic persuasions.’
– Irene van Staveren, Jounal of Economic Issues

‘. . . the first full-length treatment of how feminist post-structuralist economics might be constituted.’
– J.P. Jacobsen, Choice

‘In this provocative manuscript, Gillian Hewitson adds an important new voice to feminist economics. Using a poststructural approach, she illuminates the masculinity of rational economic man and reveals the implications, both theoretical and real, of the discursive construction of “women” in mainstream economic thought. Touching on a wide array of critical concerns to feminist economics, the book sharpens feminist economic discussions and should be seriously read by all in the field.’
– Diana Strassmann, Rice University, US

‘Gillian J. Hewitson’s Feminist Economics is a valuable addition to the scant literature on this subject. The first section of the book provides a very useful outline of the emergence of feminist economics that will be of interest to students and scholars alike. The main contribution of this volume is, however, an extensive and thorough analysis of feminist poststructuralist theory, which should considerably advance Hewitson's goal of improving the understanding of a subject that is new even to many feminist economists.’
– Marianne Ferber, Professor of Economics and Women’s Studies, Emerita, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, US
Contents: Preface Part I: Feminist Economics/Feminist Poststructuralism 1. Introduction 2. Women and Knowledge I: Adding Women to Neoclassical Economics 3. Women and Knowledge II: Theorizing Neoclassical Economics 4. Women and Knowledge III: Feminist Poststructuralism Part II: Deconstructing Rational Economic Man 5. Robinson Crusoe: The Paradigmatic ‘Rational Economic Man’ 6. The Economics of Surrogate Motherhood 7. Surrogate Motherhood and the Work of a Metaphor 8. Conclusion Bibliography Index