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French Women in Politics: Writing Power
Paternal Legitimization and Maternal Legacies
Raylene L. Ramsay
336 pages, bibliog., index
ISBN 978-1-57181-081-6 $135.00/£99.00 Hb Published (January 2003)
ISBN 978-1-57181-082-3 $34.95/£27.95 Pb Published (January 2003)
CHOICE OUTSTANDING ACADEMIC BOOK OF THE YEAR 2003
"…pathbreaking study of women’s political writings of political as a distinctive literary genre…This dense, meaty study is a disciplinary hybrid, all the richer for the author's attempt to grapple with context and to consult the pertinent works in feminist history and political science that allow her to situate the texts she analyses…This is a book from which historians of modern Europe in recent times can learn a great deal." · Karen Offen in Journal of Modern History
“Ramsay’s study is ideal for students and scholars of post-modernism, literary theory or psychoanalysis. Her knowledge and use of the theories associated with these fields is admirable.” · French Politics, Culture, and Society
Although more women in France have entered political life than ever before, the fact remains that there are fewer women representatives in the French parliament than there were after the Second World War. In a new and original approach, the author presents an overview and analysis of the emerging body of text by or on women who have held high political office in France. The argument is that writing about women and politics has not just described or reflected women's slow but now substantial entry into political life; it has played a major part in shaping the parity debate and its outcomes. Interviews with political women, such as Huguette Bouchardeau, Simone Veil or Edith Cresson, inserted in the text, demonstrate the emergence and circulation of a new common discourse focused on the issue of whether women in politics make or should make a difference. A close reading of the various texts examined in this book and their connection to new public counter-discourses in France suggest that a re-writing of power is indeed occurring.
Raylene L. Ramsay teaches in the Department of French, University of Auckland