Justice and Difference in the Works of Rousseau
According to Rousseau, the best relationship between unequals is one of 'benificence', giving, receiving and repaying benefits. This book addresses the problem implicit in his writings of whether it is indeed possible for a just and generous relationship to exist between non-equals. Judith Still draws together issues in Rousseau's work which are often treated in isolation: the state, just relations between individuals, sexual politics and the constructing of a feminine identity. She analyses his works, his classical sources, and the conceptual underpinnings of his ethics, crossing the boundary between study of Rousseau as a complex and sensitive writer of fiction and autobiography and consideration of his political and ethical theory. Using techniques of reading drawn from literary theory, particularly from the work of Derrida, de Man and Starobinski, she argues that for Rousseau it is sexual difference which disturbs the practice of benificence.