Gender Space and Power

Published Date: 6th August 2015

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Vianello, Mino Caramazza, Elena .


Presenting the key concept of ‘ovular space’ as opposed to ‘rectilinear’ spatial concepts as a new paradigm for social analysis, the authors put forward a wide-ranging social and cultural critique based on a utopian vision of a new social organization. They argue for a reversal of the ‘masculinism’ that has predominated throughout human history to date. They analyse the origins and structures of this predominant cultural form and describe phenomena that indicate that this pattern is shifting with changes in gender roles. They emphasize that their approach is not biologistic or essentialist and that their argument is based on the psychosocial reaction to biological fact. Their argument is based on a fundamental opposition between ‘formal-rational thinking, prototypical of the male mind’ and ‘female, ovular thinking, expressing itself in empathy’, which they regard as a key component of social change in contemporary society. The book is divided into two parts, the first of which is entitled ‘Space representation and the construction of social reality’. This part addresses (1) ‘Mind and space’, (2) ‘Gender difference in space representation’, (3) ‘Prestige and violence’, (4) ‘Religion, destructiveness, territory’, (5) ‘Thought and sex’, (6) ‘Public power as male structure’, (7) ‘Geometry and the law’, (8) ‘Ovular space-representation, women and family’, (9) ‘The family as political cell: for a re-establishment of public life’ and (10) ‘Gender equality: a prerequisite for the defeat of capitalism: towards forms of associate federalism’. Part 2, entitled ‘Towards a new viewpoint’, addresses the implications of this new perspective for various fields of thought: political science, psychology, sociology, historiography, economics, demography and social ethics. These chapters discuss the problems relating to ‘masculinist’ bias in these subject areas and indicate some possible new approaches. In their vision of a new society, there is brief reference to the ‘kibbutz’ model of a different social structure but the main focus is on how devolved ‘family networks’ would lead to new forms of government. The authors, Mino Vianello and Elena Caramazza present the concept of ovular space and thinking as a new paradigm that will impact on further research work as part of the process of social and political evolution that they describe