Le temps qu’il fait à Bruxelles   Le temps de Bruxelles :

Dominique Meeùs
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Bibliographie : table des matières, index des notions — Retour à la page personnelle
Auteurs : A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K, L, M, N, O, P, Q, R, S, T, U, V, W, X, Y, Z,
Auteur-œuvres : A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K, L, M, N, O, P, Q, R, S, T, U, V, W, X, Y, Z,

Michèle Barrett , Women’s Oppression Today, 1985

Michèle Barrett , Women’s Oppression Today : The Marxist/Feminist Encounter, Verso, 1986, vi+ 269 pages, ISBN : 978-0-86091-033-4, 978-0-86091-730-4 (paperback).
Réédition de Barrett 1980, le même texte, mais avec un Foreword de 1985. Curieusement, puisque ce n’est donc plus vraiment le même livre, l’ISBN est resté inchangé. Réédité plus récemment comme Barrett 2014.

C’est l’article de Ross Speer (2015) qui a attiré mon attention sur ce livre que je ne connaissais pas et qui me semble de grande valeur.

Some Conceptual Problems in Marxist Feminist Analysis (p. 8)

Elle commence à mettre de l’ordre, de manière critique, dans certains concepts ou démarches. Elle critique ainsi le fonctionnalisme et le réductionnisme.

Functionalism, where it occurs in Marxist as in other explanations, presents various dangers. Aside from the generic difficulty of establishing the imputed ‘function’ of a particular social process, there is the tendency to assume that any such function, once established, can explain the very existence of that process. This is the error of teleology — the view that the explanation of an object lies in a search for its original ‘purpose’. It precludes the possibility that no purpose, or function, is relevant to our understanding, and it also precludes the possibility that the function an object now has is different from one it may have previously had. Hence, a functionalist approach necessarily militates against an historical account of social structures and processes. More importantly, from a Marxist point of view the danger of functionalist approaches lies in their over-emphasis on the smooth, at worst conspiratorial, reproduction of dominance and subordination and their failure to recognize the concrete historical conflicts and contradictions that characterize the formation and development of social relations. In seeing, as in their Marxist guises they normally do, the exploitation of one group by another as the unfolding of an inevitable plan, functionalists tend to ignore the historical struggles that have led to their own analyses in the first place.

P. 23.

Ça me fait penser à « la fonction crée l'organe », dans certaines conceptions de l’évolution.

Elle admet que, même si une justification fonctionnaliste est douteuse, sa conclusion puisse à l’occasion être juste.

Reductionism, however, has been a more fundamental problem in Marxist analysis of women’s oppression. […] The problem with the argument that ‘women’s oppression is functional for capital’ is not so much functionalism as reductionism — in this case because gender relations are reduced to an effect of the operation of capital. This reduction is perhaps most commonly encountered in the style of analysis now known as economism, in which phenomena of an ideological kind are reduced to their supposed economic determinants. In the case of women’s oppression, this reduction is particularly fraught. It is not clear why any relationship should obtain between specific forms of male dominance and, for instance, the interests of capital, or at least this cannot be seen as self-evident in any existing Marxist analysis. Furthermore, the existence of different forms of a comparable male dominance in other modes of production and periods of history makes such a reduction implausible. So when any argument is put forward along these lines we need to be very clear as to the grounds on which such a reduction is made and these, as yet, remain unconvincing. More frequently, in fact, the reduction is assumed, or asserted, rather than argued or justified.

P. 24.

Veronica Beechey examine comment pour les capitalistes les femmes présentent l’avantage d’une main d’œuvre flexible et moins chère, mais…

… she stresses that this analysis will only hold if we presuppose a particular form of the family: ‘the existence of the sexual division of labour which consigns women to the family and the patriarchal ideology embodied in it must be presupposed in order that female labour can constitute these advantages to capital’.25 Although Beechey does not specify the ‘patriarchal’ character of the sexual division of labour it is clear that her position represents an important distance from those formulations of Marxism which conflate the oppression of women with the needs of capital.

Veronica Beechey, ‘Women and Production: a Critical Analysis of Some Sociological Theories of Women’s Work’, in Feminism and Materialism; and ‘Some Notes on Female Wage Labour in the Capitalist Mode of Production’, Capital and Class, no. 3, 1977.
P. 25.

On est dans un modèle où le salaire masculin devrait pouvoir supporter la famille ou presque pour que le salaire féminin puisse, considéré comme « salaire d’appoint », être beaucoup plus bas. Je retrouve là les conclusions auxquelles j’étais arrivé, non seulement que la valeur de la force de travail est en fait au moins familiale, mais aussi qu’il y a prise en charge collective de la valeur de la force de travail par les capitalistes :

There are, however, crucial questions unresolved in this analysis, and they hinge on problems entailed in the concept of reproduction. First, it is unclear to me why it should be in the interests of capital generally to pay women wages that require the payment of a larger wage to their husbands to enable them to support their wives. Although it may be in the interest of an individual capital to employ women in this way, it is the capitalist class as a whole which ultimately supports this arrangement.

P. 26.

Elle souligne l’importance de l’apport d’Althusser sur l’autonomie relative de l’idéologie.

Hence it has become possible, within a new form of Marxism, to accommodate the oppression of women as a relatively autonomous element of the social formation.

P. 31.

Certains, comme Rosalind Coward, ont voulu aller plus loin, dans l’autonomie absolue de l’idéologie, mais même en identifiant le réel et la connaissance que nous en avons. Mais alors, on se met en dehors du marxisme, mais aussi de la scientificité, du matérialisme (dit aussi « réalisme »).

… its compatibility with any recognizable form of Marxism is dubious. For the problem which characterizes all social science — that is, our ‘knowledge’ is itself an object of inquiry — cannot be overcome by dissolving the knowable real world into our discourse about it. Indeed the position put forward here by Coward is no resolution or reconciliation of Marxism and feminism, since the ‘Marxism’ that it invokes has departed so radically from a materialist analysis of history as to constitute a quite different body of ideas.

P. 36.

… the rejection by some post-Althusserians of all determinate relations is not at all useful, in my view.

P. 38.

Par ailleurs, le défaut de systèmes indépendants est l’incapacité d’expliquer la relation au capitalisme.

Feminist theory of the kind proposed by Millett or Delphy might be said to constitute an internally consistent theoretical approach. Yet in posing patriarchy as either completely independent of capitalism, or as the dominant system of power relations, it completely fails to provide an analysis of women’s oppression in a society characterized by capitalist relations of production.

P. 38.

Women’s Oppression and ‘the Family’

[…] is something of a caricature to suggest that Marxist theory has traditionally restricted the term ideology to ‘ideas’ of a cognitive kind. […] A considerable amount of attention is paid by Marx to questions of the apparent and the real, the phenomenal forms of labour and the underlying, but disguised, wage relation that creates the illusory character of our experiences. So although one would not want to underestimate the significance of Freud’s ‘discovery’ of the unconscious, it is incorrect to argue that all previous thought necessarily constructed ideology at the level of conscious thought.

P. 193-194.