Political Thinkers

A list of political thinkers and their books where relevant, what they thought and how they can be included into an A-level answer on feminism, nationalism, multiculturalism or ecologism.

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POLITICAL THINKERS
FEMINISM
Mary Wollstonecraft Vindication of the Rights of Woman 1792 - liberal feminism and
equality in the public sphere.
Elizabeth Cady Stanton 1820-1906 ­ Seneca Falls, where the declaration of independence
was read with the inclusion of women every time it read men.
John Locke (1632-1704) ­ God given rights to life, liberty and property.
Emanuel Kant (1724-1804) ­ Every human being is of equal worth.
Betty Friedan The Feminine Mystique (1963) ­ Explored how unhappy women were being
confined to the domestic side of life.
Kate Millett Sexual Politics (1970) and Germaine Greer The Female Eunuch (1970)
introduced the notion that the personal is political.
Millett: described politics as `power structured relationships, arrangements whereby one
group of persons is controlled by another group of persons.'
Jean B. Elshtain Public man, Private woman (1981) Highlights the public/private divide.
Millett: describes patriarchy as `that half of the populace which is female is controlled by
that half which is male' and that it has two principles `male shall dominate female, elder
male shall dominate younger'.
Simone De Beauvoir (1906-86): `Women are made not born'
Greer: Why should women aim to be equal with men as it implies that aiming for what
males already have is as good as it gets.
John Stuart Mill On the Subjugation of Women (1869) argues that the sex of a person is as an
accident of birth and someone's worth should not be based upon it.
Friedrich Engels The Origins of the Family, Private Property and the State (1884) argues that
women are a reserve army of labour and were used by capitalism for the nurture of the
future workforce. He said that there had been a `universal defeat of the female sex'.
Costa and James (1975) in the UK they were associated with the `wages for housework'
campaign.
Shulamith Firestone (b. 1945) thinks that women should be freed from the `curse of Eve'
and their ability to give birth.
Susan Brownmiller Against Our Will (1975) all men are potential rapists because they have
the biological capability to do so.
Ti-Grace Atkinson (b.1938) `Feminism is the theory, lesbianism is the practice'

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NATIONALISM
Jean-Jacques Rousseau: The `general will' all nations have a general will and should
therefore be able to do as that will dictates without the interference of other nations.
Antony Smith The Ethnic Origins of Nations (1986) points out the continuity between
primordial communities (ethnies) and modern nations and drew the conclusion that nations
are historically embedded.
Ernest Geller Nations and Nationalism (1983) industrialised societies need a new type of
cultural cohesion which is provided by nationalism but is a modern invention.…read more

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Isaiah Berlin Politics of Indifference (1969) Everyone should just be free to follow which
ever culture they like and you should not try and stop people exercising their culture. He
was a promoter of moral relativity.
Amaryta Sen Identity and Violence (2006) thought that groups of cultures should have their
own areas and not interfere or interact with them and it has been known as plural
multiculturalism.
ECOLOGY
Arne Naess (1973) created the notions of shallow and deep ecology.…read more

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Murray Bookchin believed that human existence has become dangerously imbalanced
with the environmental crisis and people should aim to climb the hierarchy of needs and
renounce material wants. This takes influence from Buddhism.…read more

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