Instead of seeing these ideals as grounded in some metaphysical facts, this new view sees them as ideals that people hold and try to instantiate through practice and imagination. Where many ancient and modern ideals of politics were based on suppositions about the nature of reality or of human beings, contemporary political philosophies generally operate without supposing that there are any universal or eternal truths. Some might see this situation as ripe for nihilism, arbitrariness, or the exercise of brute power. The performative alternative is to imagine and try to create a better world by anticipating, claiming, and appealing to others that it should be so.
Even if there is no metaphysical truth that human beings have dignity and infinite worth, people can act as if it were true in order to create a world in which it is seen to be so. Just as Zerilli performatively reconstitutes the concept of freedom, Drucilla Cornell recuperates ideas of autonomy, dignity, and personhood, in a new performative capacity, as ideals that people aspire to rather than as moral facts waiting to be discovered, applied, or realized.
On this questions, theorists tend to diverge into two groups: associational and agonistic. Associational theorists e. As Bonnie Honig, a champion of the agonistic model writes,. Associational theorists tend to look for ways, amidst all the differences and questions about the lack of foundations, it is possible to come to agreement on matters of common concern. This passage of hers helps to clarify what she takes to be the best aim of a political philosophy: a state of affairs to which all affected would assent.
As she writes,. Following Habermas, Benhabib contends that certain conditions need to be in place in order for members of a political community to arrive at democratic outcomes, namely the proceedings need to be deliberative. Some take deliberation to be a matter of reasoned argumentation; others see it as less about reason or argumentation but more about an open process of working through choices. McAfee Not all theorists who tend toward the associational model embrace deliberative theory so readily.
Where Benhabib is confident that conditions can be such that all who are affected can have a voice in deliberations, Young points out that those who have been historically silenced have a difficult time having their views heard or heeded. Young is skeptical of the claims of mainstream democratic theory that democratic deliberative processes could lead to outcomes that would be acceptable to all Young , Young, along with Nancy Fraser Fraser and others, worried that in the process of trying to reach consensus, the untrained voices of women and others who have been marginalized would be left out of the final tally.
Instead of deliberative democracy, in the mid s Young proposed a theory of communicative democracy, hoping to make way for a deliberative conception that was open to means of expression beyond the rational expression of mainstream deliberative democratic theory. Young argued that these alternative modes of communication could provide the basis of a more democratic, communicative theory. In her last major book, Inclusion and Democracy Young , Young had clearly moved to embrace deliberative theory itself, seeing the ways in which it could be constructed to give voice to those who had been otherwise marginalized.
More recent feminist democratic theory has engaged deliberative theory more positively.
See McAfee and Snyder Agonistic feminist political philosophy comes out of poststructural continental feminist and philosophical traditions. It takes from Marxism the hope for a more radically egalitarian society. It takes from contemporary continental philosophy notions of subjectivity and solidarity as malleable and constructed.
Autonomy in Moral and Political Philosophy
Along with postmodern thought, it repudiates any notion of pre-existing moral or political truths or foundations Ziarek Its central claim is that feminist struggle, like other struggles for social justice, is engaged in politics as ceaseless contestation. Agonistic views see the nature of politics as inherently conflictual, with battles over power and hegemony being the central tasks of democratic struggle.
Advocates of agonistic politics worry that the kind of consensus sought by democratic theorists discussed above will lead to some kind of oppression or injustice by silencing new struggles. Instead of the rational back-and-forth of reasoned argumentation, theorists are beginning to see deliberative talk as forms of constituting the subject, judging without pre-conceived truths, and performatively creating new political projects.
In sum, feminist political philosophy is a still evolving field of thought that has much to offer mainstream political philosophy.
In the past two decades it has come to exert a stronger influence over mainstream political theorizing, raising objections that mainstream philosophers have had to address, though not always very convincingly. And in its newest developments it promises to go even further. Historical Context and Developments 2. Contemporary Approaches and Debates 2. Historical Context and Developments Current feminist political philosophy is indebted to the work of earlier generations of feminist scholarship and activism, including the first wave of feminism in the English-speaking world, which took place from the s to the s and focused on improving the political, educational, and economic system primarily for middle-class women.
Contemporary Approaches and Debates Now in the second decade of the twenty-first century, feminist theorists are doing an extraordinary variety of work on matters political and democratic, including global ethics, human rights, disabilities studies, bioethics, climate change, and international development. As Mary Dietz writes in her essay on current controversies in feminist theory, In recent years, political theorists have been engaged in debates about what it might mean to conceptualize a feminist political praxis that is aligned with democracy but does not begin from the binary of gender.
Along these lines, Mouffe , pp. As Bonnie Honig, a champion of the agonistic model writes, Political theorists and feminists, in particular, have long criticized Arendt for the agonistic dimensions of her politics, charging that agonism is a masculinist, heroic, violent, competitive, merely aesthetic, or necessarily individualistic practice. For these theorists, the notion of an agonistic feminism would be, at best, a contradiction in terms and, at worst, a muddled and, perhaps, dangerous idea.
Their perspective is effectively endorsed by Seyla Benhabib who, in a recent series of powerful essays, tries to rescue Arendt for feminism by excising agonism from her thought. Honig , Associational theorists tend to look for ways, amidst all the differences and questions about the lack of foundations, it is possible to come to agreement on matters of common concern.
As she writes, Only those norms i. Benhabib , 70 Following Habermas, Benhabib contends that certain conditions need to be in place in order for members of a political community to arrive at democratic outcomes, namely the proceedings need to be deliberative. Bibliography Abbey, Ruth, Ackerly, Brooke, Ackerly, Brooke, and Susan Okin, Shapiro, C. Hacker-Cordon eds. Ahmed, Sara, New York: Routledge. Living a Feminist Life. Durham: Duke University Press. Alcoff, Linda M. Alexander, M. Jacqui, Allen, Amy, Anker, Elizabeth, Benhabib, Seyla, Benhabib, Seyla, and Drucilla Cornell, Berlant, Lauren, Brown, Wendy, Butler, Judith, Butler, E.
LaClau, S. London: Verso. Butler, Judith, and Joan Wallach Scott, Butler, Judith, and Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, Who Sings the Nation State? Carlson, Licia, Carlson, Licia, and Eva Kittay, Cavarero, Adriana, Collins, Patricia Hill, Cornell, Drucilla, Crenshaw, Kimberle, Critchley, Simon, and Chantal Mouffe, Cudd, Ann E. Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. Daly, Mary, Davis, Angela, Dean, Jodi, Dietz, Mary G. Fineman, Martha, Firestone, Shulamith, Fraser, Nancy, Fuss, Diana, Garry, Ann, Serene J. Khader, and Alison Stone eds. Gilligan, Carol, Gould, Carol C.
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Grewal, Inderpal, Grosz, Elizabeth, Legitimation Crisis , Boston: Beacon Press. Hagan, Frank E. Sussman, Hall, Cheryl, Held, Virginia, Hirschmann, Nancy J. Honig, Bonnie, Honig, Bonnie, and David Mapel, Howard, Katherine, Hull, Gloria T. Irigaray, Luce, a.
Speculum of the Other Woman , G. Gill trans. Porter trans. An Ethics of Sexual Difference , G. Gill, C. Burke trans. Thinking the Difference: for a Peaceful Revolution , K. Montin trans. Martin trans. Ioanide, Paula, Jaggar, Alison M.
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New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press. James, Robin, Khader, Serene J. Kittay, Eva Feder, Koggel, Christine M. Krause, Sharon, Kristeva, Julia, Roudiez trans. Powers of Horror: an Essay on Abjection , L. Revolution in Poetic Language , M. Waller trans. Lloyd, Genevieve, Lorde, Audre, Love, Heather, Laclau, Ernesto, and Chantal Mouffe, Lugones, Maria C.
MacKinnon, Catharine A. Mahmood, Saba, Malabou, Catherine, and Ewa P. Ziarek, Maldonado Torres, Nelson, Marx, Karl, and Friedrich Engels, Claire Snyder, Mignolo, Walter, Millett, Kate, Sexual Politics , 1st edition, Garden City, N. Mohanty, Chandra Talpade, Mohanty, Chandra Talpade, A. Russo, and L. Torres, Morgan, Robin, Mouffe, Chantal, The Return of the Political , London: Verso. The Democratic Paradox , London: Verso. Nurayan Uma, and Sandra Harding eds. Nussbaum, Martha C.
Nussbaum, J. Glover, pp. Oxford, UK: Clarendon. Okin, Susan Moller, Is Multiculturalism Bad for Women? Princeton: Princeton University Press. Ortega, Mariana, Oyewumi, Oyeronke, Pateman, Carole, The Sexual Contract , Oxford: Polity. Pateman, Carole, and Charles W. Mills, Can liberal democracies accommodate minority groups without sacrificing peace and stability q. In this clear introduction to the subject, Michael Murphy explores these questions and critically assesses multiculturalism from the standpoint of political philosophy and political practice q.
The book explores the origins and contemporary usage of the concept of multiculturalism in the context of debates about citizenship, egalitarian justice and conflicts between individual and collective rights. The ideas of some of the most influential champions and critics of multiculturalism, including Will Kymlicka, Chandran Kukathas, Susan Okin and Brian Barry, are also clearly explained and evaluated.
Key themes include the tension between multiculturalism and gender equality, cultural relativism and the limits of liberal toleration, and the impact of multicultural policies on social cohesion ethnic conflict. Murphy also surveys the legal practices and policies enacted to accommodate multiculturalism, drawing on examples from the Americas, Australasia, Europe, Asia and the Middle East.
Multiculturalism: A Critical Introduction is an ideal starting point for anyone coming to the topic for the first time as well as those already familiar with some of the key issues.
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