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Both challenged the notion that women could, in a straightforward manner, be the authors of their own liberation. On one hand, antiessentialist perspectives toward gender informed by poststructuralist theory shifted the terms of the debate. Poststructuralism refers specifically to developments in linguistic theory that highlighted the inherent instability in the meaning of words and texts. One result of this was a fundamental critique of the possibility of an autonomous and knowing subject or position, such as a woman’s standpoint.

I begin with Doreen Massey’s now-classic notion of a “power-geometry” as a way of critically reading globalization and the spatialization of politics: Now, I want to make a simple point here, and that is about what one might call the power-geometry of it all; the power-geometry of time-space compression. For different social groups and different individuals are placed in very distinct ways in relation to those flows and interconnections. The point concerns not merely the issue of who moves and who doesn’t, although that is one element of it; it is also about power in relation to the flows and the movement.

Such a community does not represent a pre-given organic unity but is plural and subject to continuous redefinition as the tension between liberty and equality is constantly renegotiated. For Mouffe then, democracy remains an unrealizable goal. Lister (1997) also offered a feminist reformulation of citizenship. She advocated a notion of citizenship that combines official political status, conferred through a set of rights, and practice, defined through a broad sense of participation. This combination draws attention to the political structures that reinforce or transform inequalities, as well as human agency.

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