Negotiating Gender and (Free and Equal) Citizenship: The Place of Associations

31 Pages Posted: 8 Sep 2004

See all articles by Linda C. McClain

Linda C. McClain

Boston University - School of Law


This article focuses on the place of associations within John Rawls's political liberalism and in feminist liberalism. It revisits crucial components of political liberalism in light of feminist criticisms, such as those of Susan Moller Okin and Martha Nussbaum, that political liberalism's protection of associational life hinders women's free and equal citizenship. Offering a different reading of Rawls, it finds greater potential to draw on political liberalism to support such citizenship. It then brings liberal feminist ideas about the place of associations into dialogue with recent feminist work on gender, rights, and culture calling for models of rights within culture rather than rights versus culture.

Keywords: Rawls, feminism, associations, multiculturalism, liberalism, gender, culture

Suggested Citation

McClain, Linda C., Negotiating Gender and (Free and Equal) Citizenship: The Place of Associations. Available at SSRN:

Linda C. McClain (Contact Author)

Boston University - School of Law ( email )

765 Commonwealth Avenue
Boston, MA 02215
United States

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