A vision of what feminist theory can give contemporary women. Drucilla Cornell challenges existentialist and naturalist accounts of feminine sexuality, arguing that any attempt to affirm women's value and difference by either emphasising her maternal role or repudiating the feminine only entraps women, once again, in a container that curtails feminine sexual difference, legitimates the masculine fantasy of women, and reinstates, rather than dismantles, the gender hierarchy. In response to these movements, the book strives to broaden the scope of feminist theory by articulating a platform, under the concept of relative universalism, which proposes the idea that women are not a unified and homogeneous group although they are positioned as women in patriarchy. Cornell's theory allows for differences in women's situations without giving up on the idea that women are fighting a common phenomenon called patriarchy. This new edition includes a new introduction by the author, which situates the book within current feminist debates.
Drucilla Cornell's ambitious and provocative book reworks in radical ways the very boundaries of feminism, legal theory, and recent continental philosophy. Cornell moves deftly and with unsettling conceptual sophistication from a critique of some feminist legal scholarship, the phallocentrism of philosophy and law, to a call for a utopian recognition of difference. -- Judith Butler, Maxine Elliot Professor of Comparative Literature and Critical Theory, University of California, Berkeley Drucilla Cornell is the most intellectually sophisticated legal academic writing on these issues today. The philosophical rigor she brings to any question along with the strong imagining of human needs and aspirations makes her contribution to current debates unique and valuable. -- Stanley Fish, University of Illinois at Chicago Cornell's work not only reflects incredible philosophical and theoretical breadth, but it is motivated by a powerful concrete and practical vision. Beyond Accommodation is written out of the conviction...that women will never be able to attain full equality in western societies until they can be regarded in the public eye as full legal subjects, bearing an authority equal to male citizens. -- Patricia Huntington, Loyola University of Chicago Drucilla Cornell shows that rewriting the feminine is part of undoing the material conditions of suffering rather than a luxurious alternative to understanding those conditions. Her book is both a brilliant appropriation of psychoanalysis and perhaps the most intelligent critique of it in feminist theory today... Indispensable for legal and political theory and for those who like an arguement rather than imaginary gestures towards one. -- Teresa Brennan, Florida Atlantic University, University of Amsterdam