All political argument employs political concepts. They provide the building blocks needed to construct a case for or against a given political position. Justifications of oppression in the name of liberty are no mere products of the liberal imagination, for there are notorious historical examples of their endorsement by authoritarian political leaders. This book explores two approaches to rights: the interest-based (IB) approach, and the obligation-based or Kantian view. Both are shown to offer coherent justifications that can avoid turning all political concerns into a matter of rights. The concept of social justice emerged in both at the start of the twentieth century, and justified institutions for the democratic modification for market outcomes, on utilitarian, maximin or common good grounds. The book explores whether people do in fact have good and justifiable reasons for complying with laws that go beyond mere fear of punishment, and, if so, whether they are bound or obligated by those reasons to comply. It discusses national ties and how they are supposed to act as glue that holds the state together in the eyes of its citizens. The book also explores the link between the weakening of states and this change in criminal policies, and outlines their implications for individual rights. Theorists have used the idea of social exclusion to advocate an approach to social justice that sees increased labour-market participation as the key to equal to citizenship. The contemporary understandings of the public-private distinction and feminist critiques of these are also examined.
will inevitably also be a complex project. In this chapter I shall survey
contemporary understandings of the public–private distinction and
feministcritiques of these. I shall then consider recent feminist moves to
go beyond critique, which entail attempts to de-gender the dichotomy, to
reconceive the public and the private spheres, and to deconstruct the
dichotomy itself. Together these attempts to reconceive the public and the
The book explores the relationship between violence against women on one hand,
and the rights to health and reproductive health on the other. It argues that
violation of the right to health is a consequence of violence, and that (state)
health policies might be a cause of – or create the conditions for – violence
against women. It significantly contributes to feminist and international human
rights legal scholarship by conceptualising a new ground-breaking idea, violence
against women’s health (VAWH), using the Hippocratic paradigm as the backbone of
the analysis. The two dimensions of violence at the core of the book – the
horizontal, ‘interpersonal’ dimension and the vertical ‘state policies’
dimension – are investigated through around 70 decisions of domestic, regional
and international judicial or quasi-judicial bodies (the anamnesis). The concept
of VAWH, drawn from the anamnesis, enriches the traditional concept of violence
against women with a human rights-based approach to autonomy and a reflection on
the pervasiveness of patterns of discrimination (diagnosis). VAWH as theorised
in the book allows the reconceptualisation of states’ obligations in an
innovative way, by identifying for both dimensions obligations of result, due
diligence obligations, and obligations to progressively take steps (treatment).
The book eventually asks whether it is not international law itself that is the
ultimate cause of VAWH (prognosis).
. Prokhovnik, Rational Woman: A FeministCritique of
Dichotomy (London and New York, Routledge, 1999).
The classical account of this analysis is C.
Pateman, The Sexual Contract (Cambridge, Polity Press,
See the discussions in J. Annas, An Introduction
1990s gender-and-nation studies. This is demonstrated in
their repeated citation, both overt and silent – in particular as regards the interlocking of national concepts and signiﬁers of femininity – in the inﬂuential
work of critics such as Anne McClintock and Florence Stratton.6 Crossing feministcritique and postcolonial debates with political theories of the nation,
initial attempts (my own and others’) to theorise the gender conﬁgurations of
the postcolonial nation, brought feminist ideas into the heart of a ﬁeld which
was not particularly animated by women
systems reflect gender divisions in society. This is a strong
element of the ‘feminist’ critique.
Government requires a specialised elite: the
Plato, in Republic , put forward
one of the most effective attacks on democracy. He argued that any kind of
work involves the principle of the ‘division of labour’. Thus,
specialisation in society – experts in each field refining their art
made by these
accounts of cultural narcissism is that politics, mainstream and/or counter-
cultural politics had degenerated into individual quests for self-awareness
and self-realisation’ (Tyler, 2007: 180).4 Whilst consciousness raising was
about exploring how the personal is political, these anti-feministcritiques
worked to reframe feeling as only and just personal. Feminism becomes a
symptom of ‘the me decade’.
This widely circulating figure of the too-easily-hurt student thus has a
longer history, one that might also relate back to the figure of the
are ignorant of critical studies of singlehood.
In the Introduction, I referred to Garland-Thomson’s work (2002, 2), which asserts
that disability is still not an icon on many critical desktops: by paraphrasing GarlandThomson’s observation, I have made a similar assertion about the relationship between
singlehood and feminist theory and practice. Indeed, feminists have paid scant attention to the ways in which singlism constitutes a form of inequality, reflecting explicit
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and implicit forms of oppression. The incident with Rice
possible, it will be catastrophic. And if you’re not married or on the path to marriage by
the age of twenty-five in a magic spell you will realize that you have turned into an old
and ugly maid and feel remorse about all the ugly ducks that you have rejected in the
past whom by now have turned into swans without you. (Hashachar 2011)
This account illuminates how the process of accelerated aging takes place even when
one is twenty-three years old. To some extent, the author echoes the feministcritique
on age and aging when she states that “women age, men grow up.” She
responsibilities of those who care for particular others, often
dependent and vulnerable, in intimate, domestic or familial –
“private” – contexts’ (Walker 1998 : 51).
In many ways, it is not surprising that feministcritique has been centred on ‘autonomous man’, ‘that centerpiece of
modern Western culture and protagonist of modern moral philosophy’,
and the discourses of rights and justice