Carole Pateman

Carole Pateman’s ground-breaking work on contract, obligation and gender has problematized the foundational assumptions of contemporary liberalism. Currently Distinguished Professor Emeritus at UCLA, Pateman is undoubtedly one of the greatest living political theorists. Her central contributions have been her devastating critique of the theories of obligation and consent that underpin the authority of the liberal democratic state, and her tour-de-force The Sexual Contract, which sought to show how conventional accounts of the social contract tradition have neglected the dynamics of the ‘sexual contract’, which established modern patriarchy and the political right of men over women. Her work has cast a fresh light upon the entire history of Western political thought. Polity has published many of her important books, including The Sexual Contract, Contract and Domination (with Charles Mills) and The Problem of Political Obligation.