Gender, Intersectionality, and Marx’s Value Theory


Gender, Intersectionality, and Marx’s Value Theory


Video recording of a lecture delivered on October 29, 2021, by Sarah Vitale as part of the Formal Lecture Series.

Dr. Vitale is Assistant Professor of Philosophy and Co-Editor of Radical Philosophy Review at Ball State University.

Dr. Vitale describes her lecture: “Marxist feminists have approached the question of what comes first – patriarchy or capitalism – in many ways, but there are two main threads: dual systems theories and single systems theories. In the first, capitalism and patriarchy are two separate systems existing alongside one another, creating different oppressions. In the other view, capitalism and patriarchy are part of the same system and cannot be understood properly apart from one another.

In my presentation, I will consider one recent attempt towards a single systems theory – the intersectional feminist approach. Intersectionality, an important contribution by Black feminists to the discourse on oppression and emancipation, diagnoses an important problem. However, I will argue that to apply the intersectional approach to the relationship between capitalism and patriarchy requires a different approach to capitalism than most intersectional feminists – and perhaps most Marxists – use. I will suggest that despite the best intentions, intersectional approaches to the question of capitalism and patriarchy end up functioning as dual systems theories depending on an ahistorical notion of gender. If we want to examine and dismantle capitalism and patriarchy, we must understand how patriarchy or the gender order in capitalism is a capitalist gender order. To do so, I suggest we look to a relatively recent turn in Marxist theory called Wertkritik or value criticism, which has also made significant contributions to the conversation about gender and capital.”



Annapolis, MD




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