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The idea that respect for cultural diversity conflicts with genderequality is now a staple of both public and academic debate. Yetdiscussion of these tensions is marred by exaggerated talk ofcultural difference, leading to ethnic reductionism, culturalstereotyping, and a hierarchy of traditional and modern. In thisvolume, Anne Phillips firmly rejects the notion that'culture' might justify the oppression of women, butalso queries the stereotypical binaries that have representedpeople from ethnocultural minorities as peculiarly resistant togender equality. The questions addressed include the relationship betweenuniversalism and cultural relativism, how to distinguish validgeneralisation from either gender or cultural essentialism, and howto recognise women as agents rather than captives of culture. Thediscussions are illuminated by reference to legal cases and policyinterventions, with a particular focus on forced marriage andcultural defence.
AnnePhillips is Professor of Political and Gender Theory AT LondonSchool of Economics and Political Science.