Maieutics - Note No. 9

Not only recent anthropological investigations challenge the basis of O'Brien's work.  So do longstanding debates within socialist feminism over grounding theories of oppression in relations of reproduction.  See Olivia Harris and Kate Young, "Engendered structures: some problems in the analysis of reproduction" in J.S. Kahn and J.R. Llobera, eds., The Anthropology of Pre-Capitalist Societies (London: Macmillian, 1981) and, contemporaneous with O'Brien's work on Hegel, Felicity Edholm, Olivia Harris, Kate Young "Conceptualising Women" in Critique of Anthropology 3:9-10 (1977).  In particular their call for caution in applying models of conjugality to the understanding of the construction of gender difference can certainly be set against O'Brien as she reifies the couple in her reading of Hegel.