The Status of Women in Classical Economic Thought

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The Status of Women in Classical Economic Thought

9781840644784 Edward Elgar Publishing
Edited by Robert Dimand, Professor of Economics, Brock University, Canada and Chris Nyland, Professor, Department of Management, Faculty of Business and Economics, Monash University, Australia
Publication Date: 2004 ISBN: 978 1 84064 478 4 Extent: 328 pp
The Status of Women in Classical Economic Thought is the first volume to explore how the classical economists explained the status of women in society. As the essays show, the focus of the classical school was not nearly as limited to the activities of men as conventional wisdom has supposed. The contributors explore their insights and how they illuminate contemporary economic debates regarding women’s status.

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Critical Acclaim
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The Status of Women in Classical Economic Thought is the first volume to explore how the classical economists explained the status of women in society. As the essays show, the focus of the classical school was not nearly as limited to the activities of men as conventional wisdom has supposed. The contributors explore their insights and how they illuminate contemporary economic debates regarding women’s status.

The classical school specified a number of fundamental research themes which have since dominated how economists approach this topic. A sophisticated response was developed to the question: why is it that in all human societies women have suffered a lower status than that enjoyed by men? Those who theorized on the question are covered here and include: Poulain de la Barre, John Locke, Montesquieu, Adam Smith, Nicolas and Sophie de Condorcet, Jeremy Bentham, Priscilla Wakefield, Jean-Baptiste Say, Nassau Senior, John Stuart Mill and Harriet Taylor Mill, Harriet Martineau, William Thompson and Anna Wheeler.

Economists interested in the history of their discipline as well as women’s studies scholars from history, philosophy and politics will find this an enlightening volume. Non-technical in nature, it will also appeal to anyone interested in how economists have explained the economic and social status of women.
Critical Acclaim
‘Seven authors contributed to this well-edited volume that explores the publications, lectures, public comments, and correspondence of several well- and lesser-known classical thinkers regarding women’s role in society, politics, and the economy. . . . anyone interested in gender scholarship and/or economic thought will find the collection interesting and long overdue. . . . very informative and insightful. I would say it is a book every economist and serious student with an interest in the history of thought and/or gender analysis should read, and of course it will also be beneficial for historians of feminist thought. As a teaching tool, it will make a useful companion to a traditional history of economic thought text.’
– Jennifer Ball, Research in the History of Economic Thought and Methodology

‘Focusing on the relatively unstudied status of women in classical political economy, this important collection of essays will inform, delight, and even surprise the reader. The essays provide a testimony both to the intellectual richness of the period, as well as the extraordinary social and political events of the time. The most striking unifying theme of the work is how social and political contexts served to generate the economic ideas of and about women.’
– Sandra J. Peart, Research in the History of Economic Thought and Methodology

‘The Status of Women in Classical Economic Thought contains 15 essays, all of good quality and most by well-known scholars. . . it is the only work of its kind and will be indispensable for scholarly use.’
– Athol Fitzgibbons, Economic Analysis and Policy

‘Each of the contributors, Annie L. Cot, Evelyn Forget, Peter Groenewegen, Thomas Heenan, and David Levy, in addition to the two editors, provide analyses that enlighten us about the nature of classicists’ interest in the sources of gender inequalities, and the possibilities for readdressing them.’
– Ingrid H. Rima, EH.Net

‘A worthwhile volume for those interested in the history of the economic status of women, and as a basic reference for all academic libraries. Highly recommended.’
– E.P. Hoffman, Choice
Contributors
Contributors: A.L. Cot, R. Dimand, E.L. Forget, P. Groenewegen, T. Heenan, D.M. Levy, C. Nyland
Contents
Contents: 1. Gender Relations and Classical Economics – The Evolution of a Tradition 2. Poulain de la Barre and the Rationalist Analysis of the Status of Women 3. John Locke, Equality of Rights and Diversity of Attributes 4. Biology and Environment: Montesquieu’s Relativist Analysis of Gender Behaviour 5. Adam Smith, Stage Theory and the Status of Women 6. Women’s Progress and ‘the End of History’ 7. Condorcet and Equality of the Sexes: One of Many Fronts for a Great Fighter for Liberty of the Eighteenth Century 8. Cultivating Sympathy: Sophie Condorcet’s Letters on Sympathy 9. ‘Let There be no Distinction Between the Sexes’: Jeremy Bentham on the Status of Women 10. An Eighteenth-Century English Feminist Response to Political Economy: Priscilla Wakefield’s Reflections (1798) 11. The Market for Virtue: Jean-Baptiste Say on Women in the Economy and Society 12. Women in Nassau Senior’s Economic Thought 13. William Thompson and Anna Doyle Wheeler: A Marriage of Minds on Jeremy Bentham’s Doorstep 14. Taking Harriet Martineau’s Economics Seriously 15. John Stuart Mill, Harriet Taylor and French Social Theory Index
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