Women's Oppression Today is now a classic text in the debate about Marxism and feminism and has been reprinted many times since its first publication in 1980. Acknowledging the book as a product of the specific political climate of the time it was written, Michele Barrett in this revised edition surveys the political and intellectual changes that have subsequently taken place, changes which would make the writing of such a text now impossible. In a major new essay she discusses the symptomatic absence from the book of any consideration of ethnicity, race and racism, and also reviews the significant developments that have occurred since its first publication. While defending the central arguments of the book in their own terms, she points to fundamental changes in the context in which such a debate might be conducted today. The philosophical challenge of various forms of poststructuralism to the certainties of the book's materialist premises are discussed, as is the challenge of postmodernism to grand political projects such as socialism and feminism.
Michele Barrett is Professor of Modern Literary and Cultural Theory in the School of English and Drama, Queen Mary, University of London. She is the author, among other works, of Women's Oppression Today, The Anti-Social Family, and Politics of Diversity (co-authored with Roberta Hamilton).