Feminist Theory 8 (3):279-298 (2007)

In times like these, a new ethico-political ideal is required to contest the adequacy of dominant understandings of social interaction as matters of choice and rational decision-making and in contesting these understandings encourage us to imagine social alternatives. We wish to make a contribution to this project of expanding the universe of political discourse as a means to invigorating ethico-political debate. A range of existing vocabularies — the languages of trust, care and associated concepts, including corporeal generosity — are currently put forward as the means to contest the dominance of neo-liberal premises about `atomistic individualism'. While many of these accounts focus on nation-states, others attend to an emerging global community. Nevertheless, we have some reservations about these languages and their premises. In our view they tend frequently to locate the `problem' in the character of citizens. We also make the case that such languages and their associated political agendas reinstate aspects of social hierarchy that mimic neo-liberal conceptions of autonomous individualism. Central to our critique is the claim that the problematic aspects of these existing languages of connection are due to an attenuated understanding of embodiment and an inadequate dialogue between the socio-political and embodiment. It is this inadequate dialogue we wish to redress. In this paper we offer a new ethical ideal called `social flesh' to ground an alternative politics for reconfiguring exploitative social relations. As an ethico-political starting point, `social flesh' highlights human embodied interdependence and in the process configures a new, more transformative political vision. It draws attention to shared embodied reliance, mutual reliance, of people across the globe on social space, infrastructure and resources. Insistence upon this shared reliance underpins a profoundly levelling perspective, a radical politics.
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DOI 10.1177/1464700107082366
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References found in this work BETA

Metaphors We Live By.George Lakoff & Mark Johnson - 1980 - University of Chicago Press.
Maternal Thinking.Sara Ruddick - 1980 - Feminist Studies 6 (2):342.

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