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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.

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, will inevitably also be a complex project. In this chapter I shall survey contemporary understandings of the public–private distinction and feminist critiques 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

in Political concepts
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. Prokhovnik, Rational Woman: A Feminist Critique of Dichotomy (London and New York, Routledge, 1999). 2 The classical account of this analysis is C. Pateman, The Sexual Contract (Cambridge, Polity Press, 1988). 3 See the discussions in J. Annas, An Introduction to Plato

in Political concepts
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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 feminist critique 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

in Stories of women
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systems reflect gender divisions in society. This is a strong element of the ‘feministcritique. Government requires a specialised elite: the conservative view 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

in Understanding political ideas and movements

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-​feminist critiques 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

in The power of vulnerability

feminist critique 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 50 A TABLE FOR ONE and implicit forms of oppression. The incident with Rice

in A table for one
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Becoming an “old maid”

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 feminist critique on age and aging when she states that “women age, men grow up.” She

in A table for one

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 feminist critique 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

in Recognition and Global Politics
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. POINTS TO CONSIDER Since feminism is ignored in so many areas of key importance in other ideologies, is the term ‘ideology’ really appropriate for it? Why is feminism very new, very middle class and very Western? Or is it? How susceptible to rational analysis is radical feminism? Have the main elements of the feminist critique of Western society been answered and reformed over the last three decades? Why have so many feminist

in Understanding political ideas and movements