A sisterhood of letters

Solidarity on the horizon of feminist thought

Keywords: solidarity, feminist philosophy, feminist theory, textuality, interpretation, distanciation


Solidarity has been a key topic for feminist thinkers of different times, schools and places. More than other disciplines, feminist theorists have dwelled upon the role of theory in the achievement of political and social goals. Calls for global sisterhood have incited proliferating debates as to the basis for solidarity between women and feminists. Theoretical disputes arising from the spread of deconstructionist ideas since the 1990s have led to a practical perplexity as to how to set feminist political goals if the category of woman is no longer straightforward. This article looks at how expectations for practical usefulness have resonated in feminist debates on solidarity and, drawing on Paul Ricoeur’s ideas of textuality and interpretation, reflects on the process of interaction between feminist theory and feminism as a social movement. It argues that in spite of the apparent lack of unanimity, or even outright hostility, that theoretical controversies might seem to indicate, the multiplicity of viewpoints and positions that various feminist theories collectively entail is a necessary vehicle for creating more solidarity between women in and outside academia in the contemporary world. Looking towards the future of feminist theory, the article invokes the metaphor of a sisterhood of letters to reflect on the value of shared intellectual endeavour in building solidarities between women of different social, racial, religious and cultural backgrounds.

Label for peer-reviewed scholarly publications
How to Cite
Niineste, R. (2020). A sisterhood of letters: Solidarity on the horizon of feminist thought. Approaching Religion, 10(2), 6–19. https://doi.org/10.30664/ar.91844