Almost all the early forms of feminist political thinking based themselves firmly in the assumptions of liberal individualism and materialism. Broadly speaking, liberal individualism implies that the individual person, usually designated as male, is valued in his own right, and has certain rights (legal, social, economic, political, familial and rights of property) attached to his personhood. The individual is supposed to be understood as unique, and yet he is also part of a community of like-minded men who share most of the same views, privileges and rights. Raymond Williams, writing in his dictionary of culture and society, Keywords, traces the modern sense of individuality to the break-up of the medieval feudal system and the emergence of capitalism which stressed ‘man’s personal existence over and above his place or function in a rigid hierarchical society’. He aligns the development of the individual in Britain with the rise of Protestant Christianity, which stressed the personal relationship of the individual soul with God as opposed to Catholicism’s relationships which were mediated through the priesthood.
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