A Case of Relational Autonomy in the Mahābhārata : the Story of Pūjanī

Sophia:1-16 (forthcoming)
Vrinda Dalmiya
University of Hawaii
The dialogue between Pūjanī and Brahmadatta is a lesser known episode in the Mahābhārata. This paper explores how Pūjanī’s voice is relevant when rethinking autonomy for feminist relational selves. I first unravel the different ‘stories’ that can be told through this single but multi-layered narrative. Then, by re-arranging their insights and using the idea of ‘normative authority’ proposed by Catriona Mackenzie, I piece together a picture of autonomy foregrounding dependence on others and volatile emotionality––both of which are generally thought to be opposed to ‘being in control’ or being autonomous. This emerging picture of self-governance indicates how even selves constituted by relationships to others can exit relational situations that are or become harmful. I also show that the episode leaves behind ‘internalist’ conceptions of autonomy for more capacious notions of self-determination that incorporate the importance of structural changes for agentive freedom. This goes beyond the insights of the Mahābhārata in a self-reflexive move built into the story itself.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1007/s11841-018-0644-y
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

Our Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 35,898
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Personal Autonomy and Society.Marina A. L. Oshana - 1998 - Journal of Social Philosophy 29 (1):81-102.
Must Theorising About Adaptive Preferences Deny Women's Agency?Serene J. Khader - 2012 - Journal of Applied Philosophy 29 (4):302-317.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Nurse Autonomy as Relational.Chris MacDonald - 2002 - Nursing Ethics 9 (2):194-201.
Bodily Relational Autonomy.L. Kall & K. Zeiler - 2014 - Journal of Consciousness Studies 21 (9-10):100-120.
Relational Professional Autonomy.Chris Macdonald - 2002 - Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics 11 (3):282-289.
Informed Consent and Relational Conceptions of Autonomy.N. Stoljar - 2011 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 36 (4):375-384.
Autonomy and Chronic Impairment.Carolyn Norine Ells - 2000 - Dissertation, The University of Tennessee
Relational Autonomy and the Social Dynamics of Paternalism.John Christman - 2014 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 17 (3):369-382.


Added to PP index

Total downloads
2 ( #948,623 of 2,293,852 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
2 ( #252,956 of 2,293,852 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Monthly downloads

My notes

Sign in to use this feature