Real Choices

Feminism, Freedom, and the Limits of Law

By (author) Beth Kiyoko Jamieson

Paperback - £27.95

Publication date:

15 June 2003

Length of book:

272 pages


Penn State University Press

ISBN-13: 9780271022864

Grounded in the history of political thought, and illuminated by legal studies and feminist theory, this book offers a challenging new approach to thinking about liberty in the wake of decades of criticism of liberalism from feminists, communitarians, and conservatives alike. Fundamental to this approach is the author's argument that liberty and equality are not inconsistent values and that political theory would do well to abandon the dichotomy between “negative” and “positive” liberty.

The principles of liberty Jamieson proposes—identity, privacy, and agency—are not meant to be rigid or universal but rather contextualist and contingent. To demonstrate these principles, she offers a series of three case studies of legal conflicts: for identity, heightened constitutional protection for homosexuals; for privacy, regulation of assisted reproduction such as surrogacy and sperm donation; and for agency, the rights and responsibilities of battered women.

“This is a beautifully written book—well researched, persuasively argued, very intelligent, refreshingly accessible—on a topic of considerable importance and urgency.”

—Susan J. Brison, Dartmouth College