Collapsing categories: Fraser on economy, culture and justice

Philosophy and Social Criticism 34 (4):409-425 (2008)
This article examines Nancy Fraser's attempt to repair the apparent schism between economic and cultural struggles for justice. Fraser has argued that the only analysis equipped to theorize the relationship between economic and cultural injustices is a `perspectival dualist' one, which treats the two forms of injustice as analytically separate and irreducible, at the same time as providing tools for theorizing potential harmonies between the claims of groups agitating for economic and cultural justice. Fraser's contribution has been hugely influential, but this article investigates how a series of significant shifts in her position have cast doubt on the coherence and utility of her approach. Specifically, it examines recent revisions to the social theory underpinning Fraser's account, and shows how a number of (necessary) concessions to `anti-dualist' positions call into question the diagnosis of the schism that her framework seeks to resolve, and undercut her arguments for a `perspectival dualist' approach to social theory. In light of concerns over Fraser's social theory, this article also questions whether the political ideals of recognition and redistribution retain their critical or analytical value. Key Words: anti-dualism • culture • economy • Nancy Fraser • justice • perspectival dualism • ontological dualism • recognition • redistribution.
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DOI 10.1177/0191453708088511
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