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Since its inception, Polity has been committed to publishing pioneering and innovative texts in gender studies and feminist theory. The objective has been twofold: to produce a distinctive list in these areas and to integrate a concern with gender and feminist insights into the list as a whole.
Among our many well known authors in this field are Catherine Malabou , Carole Pateman, Henrietta Moore, Anne Phillips, Catherine Hall, Michèle Barrett, Nancy Fraser, Seyla Benhabib, Raewyn Connell, Lois McNay, Lynne Segal, Susan Hekman, Judith Squires, Mary Lyndon Shanley, Donna Dickenson, Sylvia Walby, Rosalind Minsky, Anne Oakley, Jeffrey Weeks, Elizabeth Wright, Rosi Braidotti, Linda McDowell, Jill Steans, Lucy Bland, Lorna Doan, Nicole Ward Jouve, Janet Wolff, Hilary Rose and Leonore Davidoff.
Visit our highlights page for more information on our new and forthcoming general interest titles.
Duncanson: Gender and Peacebuilding
This book offers a comprehensive analysis of how and why gender matters in contemporary peace operations. It draws on a wide range of examples from across the world to offer a nuanced account of the UN’s attempts to mainstream gender into peace operations and assesses this effort to enhance the participation & protection of women.
Bradley: Fractured Identities, 2nd Edition
"Bradley successfully combines political critique and trenchant scholarship in this up-to-the minute revision of her now classic text. Her focus is firmly on increasing inequality and polarization, in all their dimensions, in the context of globalization and the entrenchment of austerity and individualism. Her arguments are accessible, engaging and convincing. The book makes an important contribution to the resurgence of class analysis, and will be widely read."
Miriam Glucksmann, University of Essex
"The Fashioned Body is a landmark text without which we might still be exploring the sartorial as pure expression of the zeitgeist, never considering fashion wearers. Instead, in this beautifully written account, fashion emerges as a negotiation between designers and wearers in which the physical body is central. Updated and with new substantive sections on space and urban geography and the ‘aesthetic economy’, this second edition charts the rise of fashion from peculiarity of Western modernity to its centrality in contemporary global cultural economies. It explores fashion’s gendered investments in debates about both ‘pornification’ and modesty and crucially frames fashion as ‘situated bodily practice’."
Ruth Holliday, University of Leeds
"Casting identity as lived and negotiated, Scott extends a pragmatist orientation to symbolic interaction, dramaturgy, and ethnomethodology. Pertinent and interesting case material grounds theory in everyday circumstances, making for accessible reading. The book is highly recommended for courses on self and society and on social control."
Jaber F. Gubrium, University of Missouri and author of The Self We Live By
Weeks: What is Sexual History?
Until the 1970s the history of sexuality was a marginalised and neglected practice, largely ignored by the historical profession. Today it is a flourishing and well-populated field, increasingly integrated into the mainstream. With chapters on a diversity of subjects, this book will be an indispensable guide to its development.
"This is a book of deep knowledge and passionate commitment. It is the culmination of a lifetime’s work on the sociology, culture and politics of sexuality, and is suffused with a critical humanism that offers a guide for the perplexed troubled by our contemporary sexual labyrinth. It is a landmark of sexual scholarship."
Jeffrey Weeks, London South Bank University
Reay, Attwood and Gooder: Sex Addiction: A Critical History
"This is an exquisitely researched, persuasive and often funny account of how, over the last thirty years, enjoying sex more publicly or enthusiastically than conservatives might have wished was turned into a phantasmic syndrome – sex addiction – that became real enough to support a small army of therapists and patients. But it is also a model study more generally of cultural epigenesis, of how the pains, pleasures and foibles of everyday life become pathologies that take a moral, political and financial toll on society."
Thomas Laqueur, University of California, Berkeley
Jeffreys: Sex in China
"This nuanced reading of a vast nation’s sexual evolution offers a sensible corrective to simplistic notions of a sexophobic government or increased freedom as a result of China’s economic spurt. By placing sexuality as negotiated within the socio-political and economic context rather than positing it as some wild, elusive thing that subverts this context, this book wipes down romance with the washcloth of the real.”
Sullivan and McKee: Pornography: Structures, Agency and Performance
“Here, at last, is an introductory book that grounds the study of pornography in theory and empirical research, discusses it in relation to industry, labour, technology, regulation and performance, and is thoroughly accessible and engaging. Sullivan and McKee’s book will become the key text for anyone researching pornography, as well as those who are interested in sex, sexuality and media.”
Feona Attwood, Middlesex University
Hill Collins and Bilge: Intersectionality
Patricia Hill Collins and Sirma Bilge provide a much-needed introduction to the field of intersectional knowledge and praxis. Accessibly written and drawing on a plethora of lively examples, the book highlights intersectionality's potential for bringing about social justice oriented change.
Phipps: The Politics of the Body
"This is a brave and important book. Beautifully written, cogently argued and with vivid up-to-date examples, it shows how a neoliberal and neoconservative politics is rewriting our common sense about bodies. A must-read for students and scholars of gender, sociology and cultural studies."
Rosalind Gill, City University London
The body is a site of impassioned, fraught and complex debate in the West today. In this important and challenging new book, Alison Phipps makes sense of this varied terrain and constructs a political sociology of women's bodies around key debates: sexual violence, gender and Islam, sex work and motherhood.
Connell and Pearse: Gender: In World Perspective, 3rd edition
The third edition of this influential and accessible book, co-written by one of the world's leading scholars in the field, includes a whole new chapter on ecofeminism, environmental justice and sustainability. It is engaged scholarship that moves from personal experience to global problems and offers a unique perspective on gender issues today.
Johnson: Sexuality: A Psychosocial Manifesto
Katherine Johnson argues for a psychosocial approach to sexuality. She produces an innovative, transdisciplinary perspective on sexual identities, subjectivities and politics that makes an original contribution to key debates ranging from identity politics and gay marriage, to mental health ‘risks' and queer youth suicide.
Bradley: Gender, 2nd edition
In this new edition of her popular and highly lauded book, Harriet Bradley provides an introduction to the concept of gender and the different theoretical approaches which have developed within gender studies. This accessible book will be of interest across the social sciences, and anyone interested in contemporary relations between women and men.
"This extraordinary book gives us a sharp and illuminating examination of a condition that it is easy to think we understand until we read this book. We may all be touched by it but Walby shows us all that is actually mobilized in producing the outcomes."
Saskia Sassen, Columbia University, author of Expulsions
Cornell and Seely: The Spirit of Revolution: Beyond the Dead Ends of Man
"A remarkable book, worthy of the twenty-first century and the new demands placed on theory and practice. Cornell and Seely argue for a spirit of revolution that is at once wary of the false hegemony of man while nevertheless insisting on the promise of a new politics that finds its energy in sexual difference and queerness. This book will generate lively debate; it is not one more 'turn' towards inhuman, posthuman or non-human materialisms, but it is all the more revolutionary for holding on to struggles of the polity."
Claire Colebrook, Penn State
Altman and Symons: Queer Wars
The claim that “LGBT rights are human rights” encounters fierce opposition in many parts of the world. Drawing on international relations, anthropology, cultural studies and the literature of the global LGBT movement, this book asks why homosexuality has become so vexed an issue between and within nations, and how we can best advocate for change.
Lacan Transference: The Seminar of Jacques Lacan, Book VIII
“In this extraordinary text Lacan teaches us that to become Lacanians would be to miss the point. To understand transference, Lacan shows us with his usual wit and precision, is to understand how and why people get stuck in their relationships to people, and to ideas. This is Lacan at his breeziest and most incisive. He reveals once again, in his own inimitable way, that to talk well about psychoanalysis is always to talk about so much more than psychoanalysis.”
Adam Phillips, psychoanalyst and writer
"Lacan on Love is not only an invaluable aid for those embarking on the study of Lacan's seminar on transference, but also essential reading for anyone interested in the question of love and human passion. Drawing on a wide range of literary and cultural references, Bruce Fink guides the reader with clarity, precision and insight in this perceptive and thought-provoking book."
Darian Leader, psychoanalyst
Horvat: The Radicality of Love
"If you were a dictator, what would you find most useful to control and suppress? This essay gives the answer: desire, love, sexuality, pleasure, whose force always threatens to make social order implode, from Lenin's Russia to Khomeini’s Iran. But love is not only what dictators dream to suppress. It is the magma of revolutionary politics. The Radicality of Love is at once scintillating and incandescent and offers a profound reflexion on the reactionary and revolutionary politics of love.”
Hekman: The Feminine Subject
“Feminist theorists are fortunate that Susan Hekman has written this well-argued book. It will no doubt be read with interest and delight and assigned to students for classes. It is a pleasure to see a mature scholar take account of the field with an engaging thesis.”
Eloise Buker, Saint Louis University
"Los, A Chapter is a lyrical meditation on the fragility of the human as well as on the palimpsestic way that our loves and lovers overlay each other in our psyche and repeatedly reappear without clear distinctions. Cixous leads the reader on by her literary - indeed semi-Joycean verbal dexterity, while at the same time conveying a strong sense of the personal and emotional side of her experience of love and mourning."
Christina Howells, University of Oxford
Death Shall Be Dethroned is the “shadow book” of Los, a Chapter, Hélène Cixous tells us. It came along after Los, but it was always there—hidden in her notebooks, in the Beethoven notebook, say, the one Jacques Derrida gave her. But when it tapped at the window, she ignored it until the day she had to let it in.
Femen : Femen
Bare-breasted and crowned with flowers, perched on their high heels, Femen transform their bodies into instruments of political expression through slogans and drawings flaunted on their skins. Humour, drama, courage, and shock tactics are their weapons. This is their story.
Butler and Athanasiou: Dispossession: The Performative in the Political
"In a series of bite-sized conversations, Judith Butler and Athena Athanasiou explore the concept of dispossession and show its links to subjectivity, relationality, occupation, precarity, bio-politics and collective protest. As they push each other for clarification and introduce a range of examples, they jointly craft a new vision of what 'performative politics' might entail."
Vikki Bell, Goldsmiths, University of London