Lesbian Separatism and Legal Positivism

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    Abstract

    Legal positivism and lesbian separatism provide very different, yet comparable, approaches to the issue of separation. Legal positivism practices separation as a tool of dominance, while lesbian separatism is based upon the need for identity formation and resistance to dominance. By elaborating upon the justifications advanced for lesbian separatism, this article critiques the separateness defended by legal positivists, and highlights the effects of power and context upon the significance of separation. Thus separatism as a political objective is not rejected or supported, except insofar as it consolidates oppressive practices. However, a critique of the idea that separation is necessarily territorial and pure is also developped, and an alternative vision of separation based upon the work of María Lugones is proposed. It is suggested that a non-oppressive concept of law can only maintain its identity if an alternative understanding of its separateness evolves.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1-28
    Number of pages28
    JournalCanadian Journal of Law and Society
    Volume13
    Issue number1
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Mar 1998

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