Choices Women Make

Choices Women Make

Agency in Domestic Violence, Assisted Reproduction, and Sex Work

Carisa R. Showden

An inquiry into women’s agency—how it is developed and deployed and how it can be increased

304 Pages, 6 x 9 in

  • Paperback
  • 9780816655960
  • Published: May 3, 2011
BUY

Details

Choices Women Make

Agency in Domestic Violence, Assisted Reproduction, and Sex Work

Carisa R. Showden

ISBN: 9780816655960

Publication date: May 3rd, 2011

304 Pages

8 x 5

"Choices Women Make is one of the best treatments of agency and its relation to women and feminism that I have seen. It is a superb book." —Kathryn Abrams, University of California, Berkeley


"In this work Carisa R. Showden accomplishes an unusual feat for a political theorist:  combining theoretical and empirical analyses. By interweaving both elements she is able to present a distinctive and persuasive argument." —Susan Hekman, University of Texas, Arlington


Women’s agency: Is it a matter of an individual’s capacity for autonomy? Or of the social conditions that facilitate freedom? Combining theoretical and empirical perspectives, Carisa R. Showden investigates what exactly makes an agent and how that agency influences the ways women make inherently sensitive and difficult choices—specifically in instances of domestic violence, assisted reproduction, and sex work.

In Showden’s analysis, women’s agency emerges as an individual and social construct, rooted in concrete experience, complex and changing over time. She traces the development and deployment of agency, illustrating how it plays out in the messy workings of imperfect lives. In a series of case studies, she considers women within situations of intimate partner violence, reproductive decision making, and sex work such as prostitution and pornography. Each narrative offers insight into how women articulate their self-understanding and political needs in relation to the pressures they confront.

Showden’s understanding of women’s agency ultimately leads her to review possible policy and legal interventions that could improve the conditions within which agency develops and that could positively enhance women’s ability to increase and exercise their political and personal options.

Carisa R. Showden is assistant professor of political science at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

Acknowledgments
Introduction
1. Conceiving Agency: Autonomy, Freedom, and the Creation of the Embodied Subject
2. Should I Stay or Should I Go? Intimate Partner Violence and the Agency in “Victim”
3. Mum’s the Word: Assisted Reproduction and the Ideology of Motherhood
4. Working It: Prostitution and the Social Construction of Sexual Desire
5. Agency and Feminist Politics: The Role of Democratic Coalitions
Notes
Bibliography
Index