The Radical Ideas of Mary Wollstonecraft
journal contributionposted on 21.05.2021, 15:05 by Susan Ferguson
Recent scholarship on Mary Wollstonecraft portrays her as either a liberal who disrupts the boundaries between public and private spheres or as a proto-socialist paving the road for a class-based feminism. Neither of these characterizations adequately captures the radical quality of her work. A close study of her views on class and family place her squarely within the liberal tradition of political economy. While she politicizes these institutions and, in so doing represents a threat to the late nineteenth-century British ruling classes, she neither disrupts the basic tenets of liberalism nor seriously anticipates the class insights of socialist feminism.