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A feminist re-reading of theories of late modernity: Beck, Giddens and the location of gender

  • Diana Mulinari
  • Kerstin Sandell
Publishing year: 2009
Language: English
Pages: 493-507
Publication/Series: Critical Sociology
Volume: 35
Issue: 4
Document type: Journal article
Publisher: Brill Academic Publishers

Abstract english

This article is a critical reappraisal of the understandings of gender and the location of women within theories of late modernity. These theories, as articulated by Anthony Giddens and Ulrich Beck, have gained a wide use, not the least since they claim to account for changes in intimate relations. We will use four major feminist interventions for our argument – the problematization of the public-private divide, feminist theorizing of kinship, feminist understandings of labor, and the heterosexual matrix.

We argue that the late modern story is made through violently created presences – of the reinvention of the heterosexual matrix, the private sphere as the location of women/gender, reproduction coupled to biology, and gender as an intimate relation between women and men – and absences of analysis of reproductive and productive labor, of the role of the state, and of gender as a social relation constituted through and within other social inequalities.


  • Gender Studies
  • gender
  • feminist theory
  • late modernity
  • family


  • 2003-2165 Theorizing social change in feminist thinking
  • ISSN: 0896-9205
Diana Mulinari
E-mail: diana [dot] mulinari [at] genus [dot] lu [dot] se


Department of Gender Studies

+46 46 222 97 04


Department of Gender Studies
Visiting address: Allhelgona Kyrkogata 14, House M, Lund
Postal address: Box 117, 221 00 Lund, Sweden
Phone +46 46-222 00 00 (operator)
Fax: 046-222 40 04

Faculty of Social Sciences