The main aim of this work is to present and assess the views of Carole Pateman within the context of her re-evaluation of social contract theory. Her revision involves analysing a hidden dimension of the contract, which she calls the ‘sexual contract’. Pateman re-evaluates two aspects of this contract: the marital contract and labour market contracts. Another crucial part of this work is a presentation of Pateman’s views on democracy and liberalism, which are discussed in close connection with modern-era and contemporary political theories. For Pateman, important partners in dialogue and polemic include Hugo Grotius, Thomas Hobbes, Robert Filmer, John Locke, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Immanuel Kant, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, John Stuart Mill, Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels, Sigmund Freud, Joseph Schumpeter, George Douglas Howard Cole, Robert A. Dahl and John Rawls. Let us add that the negation or rejection of the social contract tradition (nowadays divided into the contractarian and contractualist strands) should also be understood not so much as the abandonment of contracts in everyday life (especially in trade), but more as opposition to a faulty philosophical, political and civil model.
This book is divided into an introduction, three chapters and a conclusion. The first chapter gives an account of Pateman’s polemic with contemporary democracy theory, accompanied by a positive vision of participatory democracy. Also discussed in this chapter is the assertion that political obligation is not strongly established in the liberal tradition. The second chapter presents the link between the social contract and the patriarchate and analyses how women function on the capitalist market. I also discuss the relationship between social contract theory and colonialism and the notion of ‘property in the person’ – an important category in Pateman’s discourse. Presented in the third chapter are selected interpretations and critiques of Pateman’s views (incl. Susan Okin, Nancy Fraser, Chantal Mouffe, Charles W. Mills).
Pateman is one of the most important political thinkers of our day, yet her output is not widely known and discussed in Poland. The views analysed here seem worth disseminating, since they open up new horizons for reflection and offer an unconventional look at political thinking past and present. Pateman’s standpoint is forceful and distinctive. This publication may appeal to those interested not just in participatory democracy, feminism and critiques of liberalism, but also in unconditional basic income, surrogate motherhood, prostitution and even the taboo of rape within marriage. This work contains detailed discussion of Pateman’s views, which are set within a panoply of modern-era and contemporary political thinking. Since the title evokes the close link between Pateman’s reflection and feminism, let us add that she is first and foremost a democrat.