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Third Wave Feminism: A Critical Exploration [Paperback]

Stacy Gillis , Gillian Howie , Rebecca Munford

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Book Description

1 Jun 2007
This timely, thoughtful and provocative collection explores the current period in feminism, known by many as the 'third wave'. Four sections - genealogies, sex and gender, popular culutre, challenges - interrogate the wave metaphor and, through questioning the generational account of feminism, move feminist theory out from its present cul-de-sac. Contributions - from key and innovative third wave theorists, transgenderists, cybertheorists and cultural specialists as well as materialist and second wave feminists - introduce key debates and issues facing feminism, deepen our understanding of feminist theory and practice and indicate future trajectories for the feminist movement.

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Third Wave Feminism: A Critical Exploration + The Aftermath of Feminism: Gender, Culture and Social Change (Culture, Representation and Identity series)
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'This expanded second edition of 'Third Wave Feminism' is an unexpected pleasure. While much work on 'the third wave' is ahistorical, nationally-bounded and analytically bankrupt, here the editors bring together an impressive range of articles living up to the volume's subtitle of 'critical exploration'. The anthology provides a historically and conceptually grounded background to the area, highlights the limits as well as possibilities of generational approaches, and constitutes a politically diverse, international set of reflections on the terrain. Essential reading.' - Clare Hemmings, Gender Institute, London School of Economics

'This is an excellent and important book that left me, as Imelda Whelehan puts it at the end of her foreword, "once again caring that I am a feminist, whatever the era.'' - Alice Ridout, Contemporary Women's Writing

About the Author

STACY GILLIS is Lecturer in Modern and Contemporary Literature at the University of Newcastle. She has published widely on third wave feminism, (post)feminism, cyberpunk and cybertheory, and popular fiction. The editor of The Matrix Trilogy: Cyberpunk Reloaded (2005), she and Rebecca Munford are the authors of Feminism and Popular Culture: Explorations in Post-feminism (2008). Forthcoming work includes The Edinburgh Critical Guide to Crime Fiction (2008) and a collection on the cultural afterlife of the First World War.

GILLIAN HOWIE is a Senior Lecturer in Philosophy at the University of Liverpool and Director of the Institute for Feminist Theory and Research. She is the author of Deleuze and Spinoza: Aura of Expressionism (2002), the editor of Women: A Cultural Review's special issue on Gender and Philosophy (2003), and co-editor of Gender, Teaching and Research in Higher Education (2001), part of the IFTR conference series.

REBECCA MUNFORD is Lecturer in English Literature at Cardiff University. She is the co-author of Feminism and Popular Culture: Explorations in Post-feminism (2008) with Stacy Gillis, and the editor of Re-visiting Angela Carter: Texts, Contexts, Intertexts (2006). She has published essays on Angela Carter, the cross-channel Gothic, Daphne du Maurier and third wave feminism. Forthcoming work includes Decadent Daughters and Monstrous Mothers: Angela Carter and the European Gothic (2008).

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index
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Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  3 reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars essays are well written and well chosen 4 Sep 2007
By Elevate Difference - Published on Amazon.com
Third Wave Feminism opens with not only a foreword by Imelda Whelehan and introduction by the editors, but with note on the individual essayists included in the book. This design is indicative of the "wave principle" associated with feminism, especially third wave feminism, which emphasizes uniqueness of varying perspectives.

The introduction is just that: a short introduction to feminist theory in general and a brief history of the first, second and third waves. The introduction mentions the "tensions" over who is and who is not a part of the contemporary feminist movement. "The essays collected here explore the possibilities, as well as the limitations, of both third wave feminism and the wave metaphor," say the editors. The introduction defines the purpose of the book as asking "how and whether another wave contributes to the future of feminism."

The body of the work is a series of essays and interviews by and with contemporary feminists, many of whom contradict and negate ideas prevalent in second wave feminism, as well as the ideas of one another. This negation and "tension" between the individual essayists are overwhelming. Yet while the contradictions and almost hostile arguments make the book a difficult read, this is exactly the difficulty of the culture of third wave feminism itself. As a person who strives to reconcile ideas and definitions, I was often distracted by my ignorance regarding who to believe and who to "follow." Again and again, I was reminded that it is almost impossible to define or understand a movement through which you are living. It takes the perspective of time and distance to better understand the nuances and larger picture. I wondered if this book, though a second edition, came much too early?

Part III of the book is called "Politics and Popular Culture." This was my favorite part of the book. The theory was used as a filter to draw conclusions, and (whew) finally reconcile some ideas on a concrete level. "There is confusion over what it means to be a feminist as well as what it means to be a successful woman," says Kristyn Gorton in her essay (Un)fashionable Feminists: The Media and Ally McBeal. And in that sentence, the entire truth of the book is stated.

The essays are well written and well chosen. The difficulty of the book is not within the writing, but within the philosophy and theory of third wave feminism, both perhaps exploited too early. I believe the book is successful in achieving its aims, but the book is not for a person who does not have previous knowledge of feminism.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stronger edition 30 Aug 2007
By J. Aragon - Published on Amazon.com
The second editon of this book built upon an already strong book. This one includes interviews and approximately an additional 5-7 new entries and an introduction.

This book covers the gamut from popular culture, philosophy, transgender/gender, girl/grrrls, the media, and more. I found that the book is greared for an academic audience--upper division undergrads in humanities, social sciences, communication/media studies or graduate level courses. The wide array of covered topics makes this book perfect for a seminar.

I was smitten most with the chapter on the media and another chapter on girls. The chapter about economics by the editors of Third Wave Agenda was another strong chapter. My copy of this book is dog-eared and has lots of comments in the margins.

What I liked best about this book is that it really was a critical exploration of the so-called third wave. Some of the contributors were skeptical of this thing we call third wave feminism or the next generation of feminists. I also liked the strong research about this history of the genre (3rd wave) and that the contributors were engaged in work that moved beyond the navel gazing. This book is well-researched and written.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars outside definitions 27 Oct 2008
By C. Schneider - Published on Amazon.com
Inside this book are no definitions or answers regarding third wave feminism. While it acknowledges the "idea" that 3wf potentially exists and that women and men participate under that label, it in no uncertain terms engages in defining the movement which may not be one at all. By not engaging in the `what is 3wf' debate, the essays instead are able to focus on where feminism is now and where it might be in the future while also playing with different aspects of the current feminist movement. While writing and reading under my personal assumption that there IS a third wave and that it has a multitude of faces, goals, and dates, I also have to acknowledge that there is nothing cut and dried about it, leaving it up for debate, which essentially this book does from front to back. It is split into three parts: Generations and Genealogies which focuses on the `wave' model of feminism and its implications on current feminism and future feminisms, Locales and Locations which tackles the global aspect of current feminism and what it means to be who/what/where in relation to American feminism, and Politics and Popular Culture which deals with how pop culture (re)defines feminism. What frustrates me the most, and also what I grudgingly admire, about this book is its refusal to define feminism for anyone and it forces the reader to confront head on the information presented, even when that means expanding and redefining 3wf. Since there are as many views of 3wf as there are essays, it makes for a lot of internal confrontation. While 3wf is near and dear to my heart, it also exists outside my definition, and as Third Wave Feminism shows, it also exists outside any definition at all.
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