The relationship between feminist theory and historical sociology is contentious, especially in the area of state formation and macropolitics. By means of a survey of recent work on early modern European state-building and the contemporary politics of social welfare, I argue that developing fruitful approaches to these topics depends on our forging a tactical alliance between historical sociology and feminist theory: one that acknowledges, even preserves, the tensions within and between each diverse intellectual formation but insists that each can learn from the other.

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