Christine Delphy

Christine Delphy (France, 1941) is a French theoretical sociologist and feminist activist, author of books like The Main Enemy (W.R.R.C.P., 1977) and Towards a Materialist Feminism (La Sal, 1982). Delphy was one of the leading figures in the second wave of feminism in France. She was one of the founders of the French Women’s Liberation Movement, of the radical lesbian activist group Gouines Rouges and also of the journals Questions féministes (1977-80) and Nouvelles Questions Féministes (since 1980).

Delphy is also one of the leading proponents of materialist feminism. Her academic research in this field centres on the socio-economic analysis of patriarchy and, among other things, the lack of historic recognition of women’s everyday work. Delphy argues that capitalism maintains and reproduces the forms of patriarchal organisation in domestic work and so assures and benefits from the mobilisation of women as a labour force. This work creates absolute surplus value, as women produce and reproduce for free the work force from which surplus value is extracted. 

Main publications

The Main Enemy (W.R.R.C.P., 1977)

Por un feminismo materialista (La Sal, 1982)

Close to Home, A Materialist Analysis of Women’s Oppression (The University of Massachusetts Press, 1984)

Familiar Exploitation: A New Analysis of Marriage in Contemporary Western Societies (Polity Press, 1992)

Classer, dominer: Qui sont les “autres” (La fabrique éditions, 2008)

Separate and Dominate: Feminism and Racism after the War on Terror (Verso, 2015)

L’exploitation domestique (Syllepse, 2019)