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Hard Bargains : The Politics of Sex - Linda R. Hirshman

Hard Bargains

The Politics of Sex

Paperback Published: 1st September 1999
ISBN: 9780195134209
Number Of Pages: 320

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Men and women have always bargained for sex. In Hard Bargains, philosopher-lawyer Linda Hirshman and legal historian Jane Larson provide the first complete analysis of power in heterosexual relationships, combining an eye-opening legal history of sexual regulation with thought-provoking predictions of what the future might bring.
Hirshman and Larson tell a riveting tale that spans the centuries--from early accounts of adulterers hanging from the gibbet, to the impact of the Kinsey Reports and Hugh Hefner's playboy philosophy, to the 1960s judge who argued in favor of sex with eleven-year-olds. The book examines the factors that have shaped our notions of sex, from Catholic teaching to the theories of Sigmund Freud, and it explores the Supreme Court decisions of the last few decades that revolutionized the politics of sex. And Hard Bargains not only provides a deep understanding of historical and current disputes, it also offers striking predictions of what sexual bargaining will look like in the future--rape laws replaced by laws of sexual autonomy, adultery subjected to breach of contract action, fornicators responsible for each other's rent, prostitution considered an unfair labor practice. These are a few of the surprising--and surprisingly workable--solutions the authors foresee in the 21st century.
Hard Bargains takes a forthright and level-headed look at all aspects of one of the biggest controversies in contemporary American society--heterosexual sex--and delivers a radically new perspective on the sexual lives of women and men.

"...This book on power, relationship, equality and the role of the state in the most central of relationships, is dense and intellectually challenging....Hard Bargains is a book that will challenge your commitment to relational values as well as sharpen your understanding of power dynamics in male/female sexual relationships."--Bimonthly Review of Law Books "This is well-written, well researched history of the public regulation of sexual behavior. The authors' outspokenness and radical slant will make this a controversial book, but it is not orthodox or doctrinaire, and the forcefulness, clarity, and skill with which the authors defend their position will challenge skeptics. Although there is much in the book with which I disagree, it is a good and interesting book and deserves to make a splash."--Richard A. Posner, Chief Judge, United States Court of Appeals "In Hard Bargains Hirshman and Larson argue that heterosexual bargains, particularly outside of marriage, are presently made in a virtual state of nature, that this is intolerably unjust, and that law should be used to structure fair agreements in our sexual lives by strengthening the hand of the weak. Althoug their premise--that sex is or ought to be understood as a bargain--is sure to provoke passionate debate, their Hobbesian argument is admirably clear, the history of heterosexual politics and the intellectual movements surrounding them is well-told, and their suggested reformes in current law, if adopted, might well move us toward a more just socio-sexual world. This is an important book, original, and thoroughly engaging book. Anyone interested in the role of law in improving our public lives and our sexual politics will find this work extremely valuable."--Robin West, Georgetown University Law School "Offers an incisive look into how morality gets shaped and regulated. As much, it is an important contribution to feminist theory and U.S. social history."--Library Journal "This is a well written, well researched history of the public regulation of sexual behavior. The authors' outspokeness and radical slant will make this a controversial book, but it is not orthodox or doctrinaire, and the forcefulness, clarity, and skill with which the authors defend their position will challenge skeptics. Although there is much in the book which I disagree, it is a good and interesting book and deserves to make a splash."--Richard A. Posner, United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit "From Plato to Catharine MacKinnon, the authors trace the varying philosophical viewpoints of heterosexual politics. Their premise is that heterosexual sex is political and that much of sexual politics is worked out in discrete instances of one-on-one bargaining outside the public eye.' Although the narrative travels swiftly through history, it manages to feel remarkably thorough and gives the impression that the authors filtered details out only when appropriate."--The National Law Journal "This is a superb book. It will raise a storm of controversy and will prove very influential in terms of public policy and legal reform."--Carroll Smith-Rosenberg, Professor of History, American Culture, and Women's Studies, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor "This is an important, original, and thoroughly engaging book. Anyone interested in the role of law in improving our public lives and our sexual politics will find this work extremely valuable. Although their premise--that sex is or ought to be understood as a bargain--is sure to provoke passionate debate... their suggested reforms in current law, if adopted, might well move us toward a more just socio-sexual world. "--Professor Robin West, Georgetown University Law Center "Libraries with patrons for relatively demanding wroks on gender issues and legal theory may want to acquire this challenging analysis of sex, power, law, and history."--Booklist "The book leaves no sheet unturned to make its point that sex between men and women should not be a private matter. Instead, sex is an extension of social life, and every sex act contributes to the public welfare."--Playboy

Acknowledgments 1. Introduction: Sex in Public PART 1: THE ORIGINS OF HARD BARGAINS 2. The Possibilities of Theory 3. Rediscovering Early Worlds 4. American Beginnings PART 2: THE RISE AND FALL OF THE REPUBLIC OF VIRTUE 5. Female Virtue and Public Order 6. Challenging the Republic of Virtue 7. Equal Freedom versus Equal Commitment PART 3: THE RISE AND FALL OF LIBERTINISM 8. The Origins of Libertinism 9. The Law Catches Up 10. The Libertine Regime 11. There's No Such Thing As Free Love PART 4: HARD BARGAINS 12. The Rules of the Game 13. Hard Bargains 14. Conclusion Index

ISBN: 9780195134209
ISBN-10: 0195134206
Audience: General
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 320
Published: 1st September 1999
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 20.12 x 14.07  x 2.08
Weight (kg): 0.28