With respect to modernity and women's place in it, Ronald
Inglehart and Pippa Norris and Iris Marion Young are sharply at odds.
Young sees a rending and tearing of the social fabric, and no determinate
relationship between gender equality and modernity, while Inglehart and
Norris think modernization and women's rights are seamlessly joined
at the hip. We think that neither of these analytical stances will do. Our
assessment extends from a concept of modernity that embraces a relational
complex of features and tendencies—one that is analytical, not
normative, and that must always be historically situated. Modernity is a
vulnerable achievement rather than the secure culmination of automatic
social processes. When called to its defense, we have argued, feminists
and small-d democrats may sometimes have to endorse means and modes of
coercion controlled by imperfectly democratic states.For their criticisms and suggestions, we thank Rachel Epstein,
Bonnie Honig, David Weakliem, and Linda Zerilli. They bear no
responsibility for the substance of our rejoinder, even if their arguments
with us did help us think it through.