The thesis is an assessment and elaboration of Anna G. Jónasdóttir?s highly original and groundbreaking but relatively sidestepped theorisation of contemporary western patriarchy. Drawing on critical realism, dialectical critical realism and the philosophy of metaReality, the thesis expands and elaborates Jónasdóttir?s historical materialist-radical feminist theorisation of love, sexuality and power and develops a set of provocative theses about men?s exploitation of women?s caring and erotic capacities.
Contrasting Jónasdóttir?s essentially realist framework with Judith Butler?s and Catherine MacKinnon?s respective conceptualisations of gender, sexuality and power, the thesis demonstrates that the weaknesses identified in Butler?s poststructuralism and MacKinnon?s radical feminism share remarkable similarities, which can be remedied only by a realist framework. Lifting these concerns out of the field of substantial feminist theory, the thesis also engages more generally with a range of meta-theoretical debates pertinent to contemporary feminist theory, challenging dominating poststructuralist dogmas by means of a critical realist framework.
This unique dialogue between critical realist and feminist concerns also paves the way for elaborations of some crucial ontological themes in critical realism broadly defined. The thesis constitutes a unique contribution (1) in the field of Theories of Patriarchy in that it offers, via Jónasdóttir, a groundbreaking way of explaining men?s persistent power vis-à-vis women in contemporary, formally equal societies; (2) in the field of Feminist Theory, in that it counters poststructuralist trends from the point of view of a critical realist framework that has hitherto been spectacularly absent in feminist theory, although it offers solutions to many meta-theoretical problems that are at the forefront of feminist debates; (3) in the field of Critical Realism broadly defined, in that it elaborates crucial ontological themes of (dialectical) critical realism and the philosophy of metaReality via a discussion of the issues of love, sexuality, gender and power; and (4) in the field of Love Studies, in that it offers a reconciliation of feminist, conflict-oriented perspectives on love with ?malestream? philosophies of love.