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Feminism and Images of Autonomy

Feminism and Images of
Autonomy
Pauline Johnson
It is by now widely accepted that feminist politics has meant the
expansion of our understanding of the nature of the political.

Feminism’s powerful critique of the oppressive character of
traditionall y structured relations between the sexes is seen to have
added new depth and meaning to the slogan ‘the personal is
political’. Yet, in sharp contrast to the heyday of radical feminism
which enthusiastically endorsed an uncompromising politicisation of personal life, we have in recent times seen a growing
disquiet in some feminist circles about the proper limits of this
undertaking. In particular, the early image of the liberated life
which tended to counterpose freedom and dependence as irreconcilable values has come in for some much needed interrogation by
Betty Friedan, Germaine Greer and Jessica Benjamin amongst
others.

This early sense of the antipathy between the free and the
dependent life is perhaps most forcefully expressed in Shulamith
Firestone’s path-breaking The Dialectic of Sex. Following a
vibrant critique of various dimensions of women’s experience of
oppression in modem society, Firestone’s closing chapter proposes the broad outlines of an image of a feminist utopia. In
retrospect, Firestone’s portrait of ‘cybernetic communism’ appears somewhat disturbing. Her projected utopia describes a
society in which the particularity of all intimate relations, all
coupling and even the act of childbirth have been rendered
redundant. Firestone looks forward to a society in which:

… instead of developing close ties with a decreed mother
and father, the child might now form those ties with people
of his own choosing of whatever age or sex … children
would not be monopolised but would mingle freely throughout the society to the benefit of al1. 1
Firestone proposes an image of the emancipated life in which
freedom is seen as a matter of the essentially isolated individual’s
capacity to enter into a series of arbitrarily chosen, merely
transitory relations with others.

This early ideal of the liberated life has been tellingly evaluated by Jessica Benjamin in an important essay on contemporary
feminist politics titled ‘Shame and Sexual Politics’.2 Benjamin
holds that, to the extent that it describes freedom and personal dependency as exclusive needs, feminism’s image of autonomy can
only mean the resurfacing of a J acobin terrorisation of the self and
others. Benjamin is concerned not so much with the question of
the viability of this image of autonomy but focuses, rather, on the
issue of its human cost. She says:

Both the assertion of women’s absolute autonomy and the
shame at disclosing dependency threaten me with the
feeling that once again a political movement will deny the
initial thing that makes life worth living: that sense of

26

safety, of bodily intimacy and security, of familial and
community cohesion which many have experienced as the
price of revolution. 3
With Benjamin and others, I suggest that we need to take another
look at the legacy of a radical feminist understanding of the
politics of personal life. It should, perhaps, be conceded here that
the radical feminist insistence on the necessity for the constant
surveillance of our patterns of dependent relations did offer a
strategically important impetus to the early women’s movement.

Yet, to the extent that it constructs an image of autonomy pinned
on a conception of freedom and dependence as exclusive needs,
feminism still represents a very incomplete, merely negative
political consciousness. Now that feminism is acknowledged as
an established, albeit beseiged, political presence, it needs to
reconstruct its one-sidedly negative understanding of freedom as
a freedom from the oppressive familial ties which mark a subordinated femininity. Contemporary feminism has now the opportunity and the task of developing an image of the emancipated life
which stri ves to marry or mediate freedom and dependence as two
reconcilable needs. I am not, therefore, advocating the road taken
by the later Friedan in The Second Stage and Germaine Greer in
Sex and Destiny. Though sympathetic to their critique of the
legacy of a radical feminist understanding of the politics of
personal life, I do not see the mere reassertion of select traditional
patterns of familial and comm unity ties as appropriate to the needs
of the more mature feminist movement. We can, I suggest, sustain
the radicalism of early feminist attempts to interrogate the impact
of traditional gender relations without upholding the individualistic understanding of freedom which typically underpinned their
conceptions of the emancipated life.

In the following paper I investigate some of the problems and
possibilities which surround an attempt to construct an image of
autonomy which mediates rather than counterposes freedom and
dependence. I turn first to an assessment of Benj am in ‘s proposals
for overcoming a conception of the necessary antagonism between these two elementary values. Benjamin appears as one of
the few modem feminist thinkers to insist on the necessity and
possibility of reconstructing an image of the emancipated life
which embraces our felt needs both for free, self-determining
action and for intimate interpersonal ties. She formulates her
proposals for the mediation of these two sets of needs as a direct
response to Horkheimer’s analysis of the dynamics of modem
family life. So I begin with a brief discussion of the early
Horkheimer’s appraisal of the relations between the family and
civil society.

PART ONE: JESSICA BENJAMIN ON BRIDGING
THE FREEDOM/DEPENDENCE GAP
The main propositions of Horkheimer’s sociology of the family
are now rather well-known, thanks to their popularisation by
Christopher Lasch. Horkheimer, to briefly summarise, proposes
a definite productive and progressive dimension to family life in
early bourgeois society. The progressive dimension of early
bourgeois life is said to appear in two major aspects. The respect
and reverence commanded by the father as authority figure in a
tightly structured domestic life meant, on the one hand, that the
male child learnt thoroughly the respectful obedience to duty
required of him by bourgeois society. In this sense the family did
what the market place was unable to do: it rationalised the
irrationality of power.

The family became an agency for society; it shaped the
human beings in such a manner that they became capable
of the tasks which the social system demanded of them.4
Yet, despite this performance of a vital legitimating function, the
family as the site of the boy’s internalisation of the father’s
demands is conceded a fundamentally emancipatory aspect. His
internalisation of the father’s demands means that the male child
assumes fully notions of individual responsibility and inner
discipline thereby learning an attitude of independence.

Horkheimer argues that the internalisation of familial demands in
the early bourgeois family contributed to the formation of a strong
ego capable of independence of thought and action. Horkheimer
is not blind to the oppressed character of the role performed by
women in the early bourgeois family. He admits that woman’s
submission to the authority of the patriarchal fatherlhusband and
her exclusion from a societallife managed by men can only mean
the severe truncation of her own human development. Yet even in
the mother’s self-sacrificing devotion to her family Horkheimer
contrives to find an emancipatory aspect. In sharp contrast to the
calculating instrumental relations of the market place, the bourgeois family remained a haven of unconditional solidarity and
trusting intimacy. Horkheimer comments:

of the father now evident in monopoly capitalism causes the child
to seek protection in the authority of such collective powers as: ‘ …

the class in school, the team in sports, the club and finally the
state’.6 The assumption of individual responsibility and the attitude of independence derived from the internalisation of the
father’s authority is lost. A casualty also of the contemporary
crisis in the family and the impending emancipation of women is
the demise of the tender supportive relations with others preserved in family life. What threatens is: ‘ … a regression due to atomisation and dissociation’.7 Significantly, however, Horkheimer
does remark that while the tenderness and intimacy of love
relations has certainl y shrivelled in the modem famil y, bourgeois
family life still remains the only place where such relationships
can survive at all.

Jessica Benjamin’s evaluation of this description of the progressive aspects of the bourgeois family appears in two separate
essays. ‘Authority and the Family Revisited: or a W orId Without
Fathers?’ appraises Horkheimer’s model of the construction of
the independent personality via the internalisation of the father’s
demands. A later piece called’ Shame and Sexual Politics’ evaluates the assertion that a nurturant maternal love stands as an
historical trace of the possibility of non-reifying relations with
others. While she finds wholly unacceptable the former aspect of
Horkheimer’s assessment of the progressive potentialities of the
bourgeois family, Benjamin is prepared to accommodate aspects
of the second thesis into her own explicitly feminist standpoint.

Benjamin constantly repudiates Horkheimer’s efforts to extract a progressive dimension from the boy’s strong identificatory
attachment to the patriarchal head of the household. Yet her
critique does not simply revolve around Horkheimer’s almost
total unconcern with the unequal gender politics of the situation
he upholds. Benjamin highlights, rather, what she takes to be the
inadequate image of freedom which underpins Horkheimer’s
analysis. To her, Horkheimer’s attempt to link the identification
with the strong father to the construction of an independent ego
promotes the’ … undialectical and individualistic proposition that
freedom consists in isolation’.8 Because Horkheimer sees freedom as a matter of the assumption of individual responsibility by
an independent social actor, his picture of the emancipated life
necessarily omits our elementary needs for solidarity and community with others. Benjamin argues that Horkheimer’ s internalisation model, which is based on the assumption that the denial of
the need for the other is the route to the liberated, self-directing life
in the end only merely reiterates the freedom/dependence antinomy which she identifies as such a disturbing feature of discussions within contemporary feminism.

… common concerns took a positive form in sexual love
and especially in maternal care. The growth and happiness
of the other are willed in such unions. A felt opposition
therefore arises between them and a hostile reality outside.

To this extent, the family not only educates for authority in
bourgeois society; it also cultivates the dreams of a better
condition for mankind.5
According to Horkheimer, the collapse of the family as a dominant social institution has meant the almost total evaporation of
the progressive, critical dimension of family life. The weakness

27

In partial defence of Horkheimer it must, however, be said
here that his more elaborated analyses from this early period on
the historical construction of individuality as an ideal make clear
that he by no means uncritically upholds the bourgeois ideal of the
isolated self-sufficient social actor as a measure of authentic
individuality.9 To him, genuine individuality is possible only in a
social context which facilitates the free and equal participation by
indi viduals in the practical determination of the character of their
human environment. In terms of this wider perspective in which
authentic freedom appears as a description of an ideal social life,
Horkheimer’s insistence on the necessity for a strong ego capable
of assuming ethical responsibility, appears as an articulation of
the merely negative conditions for the possibility of free action.

A social life peopled by insecure, fearful individuals will inevitably provoke a turn to either the seeming reassurance of entrenched
tradition or the safety of group conformism. To this extent, I
suggest that feminism, itself a protest at the unfreedom of unexamined tradition, can have no real argument with Horkheimer’s
general standpoint here. Yet, as Benjamin rightly points out,
feminism clearly does need to take issue with the patriarchal
character of Horkheimer’s account of the construction of the
strong ego in bourgeois family life.

Benjamin finds Horkheimer’s analysis of the progressive
dimension of the maternal bond more palatable to a feminist
perspective, although even here his description is seen to need
some major reconstruction. On Horkheimer’s account, a nurturant mother-bond which promises forgiveness and solidarity is
counterposed to a father-identification which insists on selfresponsible ethical individuality. To Benjamin, however, maternallove is capable of both forgi ving solidarity and the encouragement of a self-reliant individuality. Far from being hostile to the
other’s assumption of independent subjectivity, maternal love is,
Benjamin maintains, fully suited to the respectful recognition of
the other’s right to individuality. Feminism, she concludes, must
discover freedom beyond rather than in oppo~ition to this bond of
maternal love. This proposal for a feminist reconstruction of
Horkheimer’s characterisation of the progressive aspect ofbourgeois family life rests on a single vital move. By asserting the
capacity of maternal love to supply an encouragement to individuation as well as a supportive love, Benjamin hopes to overcome both the patriarchal bias ofHorkheimer’ s standpoint and the
supposed antinomy between freedom, seen as the independence
of the self-sufficient actor in civil society, and dependent relations
with others in which a self-effacing mother love plays a pivotal
role. With Benjamin, a libertarian mother-bond invests relations
in the modern household with a supportive dependence mediated
by a respect for and encouragement of the autonomy of the other.

There are, it seems to me, a number of things wrong with this
attempt to overcome the freedom/dependence gap in radical
feminist thought via a feminist appropriation of Horkheimer’s
sociology of the family. In the first place, Benjamin’s supposition
of the liberating potential of an enlightened mother-love does not
provide the mediated conception of freedom and dependence it
promises. There are two important considerations here. Benjamin ‘s
commentary on the individuating capacity of maternal love is not,
as it claims, the feminist complement of Horkheimer’ s discussion
of the individuating function of the boy’s internalisation of the
father’s demands. Horkheimer’s analysis represents an attempt to
establish the mechanisms within bourgeois life which serve to
construct a strong ego capable of independent action in public life.

Benjamin, on the other hand, describes a maternal love which
permits expression of an already constituted independent personality. The distinction here is substantive. Whereas Horkheimer
had investigated the construction of the autonomous personality
in bourgeois society as a problem, Benjamin’s account of a

28

maternal love which respects the individuality of the other merely
assumes the possibility of authentic individuality in bourgeois
society. Benjamin’s libertarian mother figure has the merely
negative virtue of not actively thwarting an assumed capacity for
independent self-definition. In Horkheimer, by contrast, the boy’s
identification with the bourgeois patriarch functions as a mechanism with the supposed capacity of engendering a disposition
towards independence of thought and action.

Furthermore, Benjamin’ s appeal to a nurturant, albeit en lightened, maternal love in the end only repeats the terms of the
antinomy it hopes to mediate. She calls upon a merely traditional,
unnegotiated relationship in her efforts to show the possibility of
effecting a reconciliation between freedom and dependence.

Because Benjamin is, somewhat curiously, concerned with the
supportive mother-bond only in terms of its impact on the other
(the mother appears as the facilitator of the other’s freedom) she
necessarily continues to operate with an antinomial conception of
the relation between freedom and dependence. Ultimately,
Benjamin offers only an account of the compatibility between a
supportive mother love and a liberating encouragement to individuation.

It seems that Benjamin’s efforts to reappraise early radical
feminist images of the liberated life do not in fact depart from any
of its basic presuppositions. The early conception of a fundamental dichotomy between freedom, seen as the egoistic activity of
the individual in civil society, and dependence, seen as a matter
of traditional familial and community ties, remains. All that has
changed is the preparedness to recognise the supposed compatibility between some traditional patterns of kin relations and an
egoistic individuality. I suggest, however, that rather than simply
challenging the, mostly well-placed, radicalism of the early
feminist critique of tradition bound familial relations, contemporary feminism needs to attempt a far more thorough-going reconstruction of the one-sidedly negative conception of freedom
employed by radical feminism. It is this negative conception of
freedom, according to which the emancipated life appears as a
mere matter of the absence of constraining, inhibiting relations
which needs to be fundamentally rethought.

As indicated earlier, a negative conception of freedom was
perhaps particularly suited to the strategic efforts of the early
Women’s Liberation Movement to have the urgency of its protest
recorded. Today, however, when the more established movement
is increasingly called upon to offer a positive feminist contribution to humanist discussions of the meaning of ‘the good life’, a
merely negative image of freedom can only appear irrelevant and
obstructive. Abstracted from its initial merely critical, strategic
role and placed in the centre of discussions over the content of the
emancipated existence, the early feminist understanding of freedom as the mere absence of constraining relations with others necessarily appears as a hollow disavowal of our profoundly felt
needs for solidarity and community. Unlike Benjamin, then, I
suggest the attempt to overcome the freedom/dependence split
typical of feminist images of the liberated life requires nothing
less than a fundamental reconceptualisation of the idea of freedom inherited from a tradition of radical feminist thought.

PART TWO: FEMINISM AND THE GOOD LIFE
Contemporary feminist theory has not, it is true, entirely neglected a critical evaluation of the conception of freedom employed by radical feminism. On the contrary, there has been much
critical discussion within feminist philosophy of the so-called
masculinist bias of the image of autonomy which has dominated
feminist politics ever since de Beauvoir and her radical feminist
interpreters. In essence, this critique holds that feminist politics

has mistakenly adopted an image of autonomy which has uncritically absorbed the formulations of the historical Enlightenment.

Contemporary feminist philosophers point out that this image of
the autonomy of the free, rational intellect has typically been
formulated in terms of the domination of a masterful masculinity
over a submissive, natural femininity. Given that this Enlightenment construction of freedom as the autonomy of the rational ego
is said to entail a repressive gender politics, it appears fundamentally inappropriate to the formulation of the emancipatory hopes
of the feminist movement.

Yet what is for the most part left unsaid is that the logic of
domination discovered in the Enlightenment image of freedom
represents a deformation of its origins in an essen tiall y emancipatory, humanistic project. As Cassirer points out in his classic
treatise The Philosophy ofthe Enlightenment, eighteenth-century
thought was, in part, distinguished by its commitment to an
understanding of the practical import of human reason. It held
that: ‘Man is not simply subject to the necessity of nature; he can
and should style his own destiny as a free agent and bring out his
destined and proper future. ’10 It is this humanistic undertaking
which the early Horkheimer draws upon in his efforts to construct
an understanding of freedom as a description of a quality of social
life itself. As already indicated, the early Horkheimer understands
by authentic individuality not any mere absence of cosntraints but
rather a practical capacity of each individual to, in concert with
others, participate in the effective determination of the character
of the good life. This humanist project in which Enlightenment
thinking had its roots becomes blocked, however, when an
instrumental reason, which recognises only the logic of domination, is released from its erstwhile status as mere means and
elevated to the status of end or goal. In this case the image of
freedom ceases to appear as a description of a quality of social
existence and is replaced by an image of freedom as the critical
consciousness of an abstract rationality.

It is this deformed image of freedom which has properly been
the object of critique from modern feminist philosophers. Yet we

should not, I suggest, conclude thereby that contemporary feminism finds its natural theoretical allies in all those post-modern repudiations of the humanistic project of the historical Enlightenment. On the contrary, the needs of contemporary feminism
suggest the specific appropriateness of an alliance with those
efforts within modern critical theory to redeem the humanistic
spirit of the Enlightenment project. I am thinking here particularly
of such figures as the early Frankfurt School theorists and, more
recently, Habermas. Contemporary feminism can, I suggest, most
appropriately respond to its own emerging critique of a negative
conception of freedom as the critical consciousness of a rational
intellect by joining in with the efforts of a humanistic tradition in
social theory to reconstruct an image of freedom as a quality of a
humanising social existence.

In the present context it is not possible to sketch in any detail
the kinds of alliances which mght be effected between feminist
theory and a tradition of critical social theory concerned to
preserve the humanist spirit of Enlightenment thinking. In the
remainder of the paper I propose only a brief discussion of how
such a turn in its theoretical allegiance might promote a radical
reconstruction in the terms in which the whole issue of the
freedom/dependence relation has been formulated within feminist theory.

Up till now, feminist theory has typically encountered the
issue of the relationship between freedom and dependence in
merely naturalistic terms. Benjamin, for example, implicitly
represents the need for the security of intimate kin relations and
the aspiration towards individual autonomy as mere brute facts of
human existence. The whole discussion is dogged by the absence
of any recognition of the cultural and historical mediation of these
demands and hopes: feminist debate typically centres not on the
interpretation of felt needs but focuses only on the issue of their
compabitility. The legitimating effect of this naturalistic construction of elementary human needs is particularly evident in
Benjamin’s formulation of the freedom/dependence relation.

Because the need for solidarity and dependence” appears for her a
mere fact unmediated by any cultural experience, she unproblematically affirms the fixture of such needs in modern bourgeois
life on a compassionate, self-denying ‘natural’ mother-love.

Again, Benjamin’s discussion of the character of individual
freedom naturalises the bourgeois ideal of the self-sufficient ego
buoyed up in its self-love by an unconditional mother-love.

This naturalisation of needs, which seemingly runs throughout feminist discussions of this issue, is, I suggest, the root cause
of the manifest impasse reached in the debate. As long as freedom
is understood as the negative aspiration of the self-sufficient ego
and while the need for community continues to be interpreted as
the flight of the embattled self into the security of a compassionate
long-suffering love, then the patriarchial present clearly offers the
best arrangement for coping with our ‘elementary’ needs. Ultimately, it would appear that the abdication by feminist theory
from the task of proposing a critical perspective on the authenticity of our felt needs and demands means that it necessarily
remains locked into a legitimation of present social relations as
offering the most appropriate management of the needs spawned
by it.

This proposal for undertaking a critical self-understanding of
the character of our needs which is so vitally missing from
feminist discussion is, nevertheless, powerfully elaborated within
a broader tradition of critical social theory. This critical perspective on existing formulations of our elementary needs is, I suggest,
provoked by those various attempts to establish the centrality of
human community to any authentic or meaningful construction of
the freedom of the individual. Within the early Frankfurt School,
for example, an authentic individuality appears as a quality of an

29

ideal social life in which each individual has the practical capacity
to effectively participate in the conscious determination of the
character of their social environment. Again, Arendt makes
community central to her positive understanding of freedom as
the disclosure of each unique individuality through action.

From the vantage point of a positive account of freedom as a
quality of social community which facilitates the free and equal
participation by individuals in the practical determination of their
social environment, we can get some perspective on the merely
abstract character of a negative image of freedom understood as
liberation from hardship and oppression. On this basis Horkheimer,
for instance, suggests that a conception of individual freedom
seen as the egoistic, self-directed activity of the isolated individual is at bottom only a portrait of an impotent will forever
vulnerable to the real power of entrenched social norms which
confront him/her as mere brute, objective facts. Importantly,
Horkheimer’s investigation into the authenticity of existing merely
negative formulations of the demand for freedom in no way
requires the denial of our felt needs. It proposes, rather, a critical
self-understanding of their hidden radicalism. Because feminism
typically naturalises present formulations of the demand for
freedom, which is seen as the demand for the liberty of the
egoistic, self-directed individual, its standpoint remains in essential conformity with the ideology of the status quo. With
Horkheimer, by contrast, we arrive at an understanding of the
radical consequences of the pursuit of individuality, a demand
whose authentic realisation requires nothing less than a full
reconstruction of the character of social life itself. More on the
limits of this ‘old’ socialist ‘solution’ later.

We can, moreover, attempt to extract from the various formulations of freedom as the ideal of humanising community the main
lines of a critical self-understanding of our presently constituted
needs for dependence and community. I am, of course, not
arguing here that our profoundly felt need for the protective
embrace of compassionate private love relations can or even
should be made to evaporate as mere cultural chimera. My point
is only that, as long as feminism remains a party to a naturalisation
of culturally mediated demands for the security and protection of
privatised love relations, it necessarily remains locked into an
endorsement of the, typically unfulfilled, promise of present
gender relations.

Against this naturalisation of the need for community as a
demand for the security of privatised love, I propose that, with
Hannah Arendt and others, we attempt to understand this need as
a very intelligible cultural fact. Arendt, for example, disputes the
Rousseauian interpretation of the contemporary demand for the
security of privatised love relations as the mere outgrowth of an
instinctual compassion for the suffering of others. To her, this
demand is the wholly understandable response of persecuted and
enslaved groupings in the face of their oppression. According to
Arendt, this kind of solidarity based on ‘mere’ sympathy and
compassion actually becomes inevitable ‘when the times become
so extremely dark for certain groups of people that it is no longer
up to them, their insight or choice to withdraw from the world.

Humanity in the form of fraternity invariably appears historically
among persecuted people and enslaved groups. ’11
Herself a militant Jewess, Arendt’s interpretation of the
demand for privatised love as a kind of protective defence in ‘dark
times’ does not, of course, suggest a failure to recognise the
profundity of such needs. We are not even committeq here to the
supposition that the need for this non-selective compassionate
love could or should be totally supplanted given a utopian release
from ‘dark times’. It is, rather, the legitimating effect of a
naturalistic identification of a specific management of human
needs for community and solidarity with a generic instinct which

30

is up for question. The absence of ‘insight or choice’ in the
elaboration of our needs for community ought to be particularly
targeted by feminism. Given a positive understanding of freedom
as a quality of human community, which makes the character of
social life a matter of effective negotiation amongst all individuals, perhaps the intimacy of private love relations could become
the proper object of choice rather than the only seeming defence
available to individuals in a heartless world. If freedom appears
as a characterisation of human community which fosters the full
development of the individual’s natural and acquired powers,
then the love relations of private life could come to be embraced
as a vital aspect of the individual’s self-development.

So what’s new? Thus far we have, it seems, only invoked the
‘old’ socialist criticism of all ‘bourgeois reform ism , . What we
need, so it goes, is a socialist revolution to dissolve all those bitter
experiences and nagging dilemmas of the present. And yet to
confront those pressing problems with the mere abstract promise
of a socialist feminist utopia is manifestly to risk alienating or
suppressing that very critical, dissatisfied consciousness necessary to its realisation. The seeming irrelevance of the ideal of a
fully humanised social life to the needs and discontents of the
present is, however, only apparent. There is, after all, an inescapable utopian aspect, a positing of alternative possibilities, in the
constitution of any critical consciousness. I suggest that feminist
theory has, for the most part, not ‘sufficiently appraised the
character of the ideals it has assumed in the construction of its
critique of the present. If we fail to submit a merely negative,
liberal ideal of freedom to any significant analysis, we remain
stuck fast on the horns of a seemingly inescapable bifurcation between freedom and dependence. To invoke a socialist utopia, in
which freedom appears as a quality of social community which
fosters the free and equal participation by all individuals in the
practical determination of their social environment, is not, then,
to simply offer the cold comfort of pie-in-the-sky solutions to
immediate problems. It is, rather, a proposal which allows for the
extension of the range of our critical consciousness. Without
surrendering the power of the early radical feminist critique of traditional forms of interpersonal relations, we should, I suggest,
begin to elaborate a critique of the image of autonomy adopted by
it.

NOTES
1.

2.

Firestone, S., The Dialectic of Sex, Jonathan Cape, 1971.

See Benjamin, 1., ‘Shame and Sexual Politics’, New German
Critique No. 27, 1983.

3. Ibid., p. 158.

4. Horkheimer, M. and Adomo, T. W., ‘The Family’, in Aspects of
Sociology, Heinemann, 1973, p. 136.

5. Horkheimer, M., ‘Authority and the Family’, in Critical Theory,
Seabury Press, New York, p. 114.

6. Ibid., p. 142.

7. Horkheimer, M. and Adomo, T. W., op. cit., p. 139.

8. Benjamin, J., ‘Authority and the Family Revisited; or, A World
Without Fathers?’, New German Critique 13,1977.

9. See Horkheimer, M., ‘Rise and Decline of the Individual’ in Eclipse
of Reason, The Seabury Press, 1974.

10. Cassirer, E., The Philosophy of the Enlightenment, Beacon Press,
1955, p. 9.

11. Arendt, H., ‘On Humanity in Dark Times’ in Men in Dark Times,
Pelican, 1973, p. 20.

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