Post-liberation Feminism and Practices of Freedom


  • Ladelle McWhorter University of Richmond



Most feminist theorists over the last forty years have held that a basic tenet of feminism is that women as a group are oppressed.  The concept of oppression has never had a very broad meaning in liberal discourse, however, and with the rise of neo-liberalism since 1980 it has even less currency in public debate.  This article argues that, while we may still believe women are oppressed, for pragmatic purposes Michel Foucault’s concept of practices of freedom is a more effective way to characterize feminist theory and politics.

Author Biography

Ladelle McWhorter, University of Richmond

Ladelle McWhorter is the author of Bodies and Pleasures: Foucault and the Politics of Sexual Normalization (Indiana, 1999), Racism and Sexual Oppression in Anglo-America: A Genealogy (Indiana, 2009), and more than two dozen articles on Foucault, Bataille, Irigaray, and race theory. With Gail Stenstad, she edited a revised and greatly expanded second edition of her 1992 anthology Heidegger and the Earth: Essays in Environmental Philosophy, which was issued by Toronto University Press in 2009. She holds the James Thomas Chair in Philosophy and is also a Professor of Environmental Studies and Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at the University of Richmond in Richmond, Virginia.




How to Cite

McWhorter, L. (2013). Post-liberation Feminism and Practices of Freedom. Foucault Studies, (16), 54–73.



Special Issue on Foucault and Feminism