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'...the lack of any legitimating tradition within feminism'

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Only just started this book (and may dip in and out as chiefly interested in the early phase at this point) but didn't want to lose sight of the arguments Caine raises about reasons for, as she sees it, the lack of a continuity in traditions in feminism that might be seen in other political and social movements.

'...this lack of a definite and coherent feminist tradition seems itself to be a result of the oppression and subordination of women that are the target of feminism. For women in general have lacked the resources needed to establish and transmit their ideas.' 

'Moreover, feminist writers, activists, and theorists have never had the the kind of prestige or patronage which would make later generations seek connections with them as a way of enhancing their own status or prospects.'

Caine makes the point that claiming connection to a founding father in other fields like economics '...automatically conferred legitimacy and importance on male writers [...] connection with Wollstonecraft suggested only moral laxity.' (page 6)

Caine goes on to suggest the lack of a single tradition might make feminism '...appear particularly subject to discontinuities and to breaks and constantly to be in need of revival and rescue.' resulting in opportunities and challenges. The absence of a strong central tradition can make it feel a 'starting from scratch' for every generation, 'On the other hand, the lack of an institutionally based tradition has conferred great freedom on later feminists to break with the past, [...] to formulate new theories and programmes [and also] to read and reconstruct their feminist past as they choose.'

Along with being helpful in thinking about the nature of Wollstonecraft's 'legacy' I think these may be important issues in other situations, particularly thinking about traditions relevant to other oppressed groups.

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