Islamist Women's Agency and Relational Autonomy

Hypatia 33 (2):195-215 (2018)
Ranjoo S. Herr
Bentley College
Mainstream conceptions of autonomy have been surreptitiously gender-specific and masculinist. Feminist philosophers have reclaimed autonomy as a feminist value, while retaining its core ideal as self-government, by reconceptualizing it as “relational autonomy.” This article examines whether feminist theories of relational autonomy can adequately illuminate the agency of Islamist women who defend their nonliberal religious values and practices and assiduously attempt to enact them in their daily lives. I focus on two notable feminist theories of relational autonomy advanced by Marina Oshana and Andrea Westlund and apply them to the case of Women's Mosque Movement participants in Egypt. I argue that feminist conceptions of relational autonomy, centered around the ideal of self-government, cannot elucidate the agency of Women's Mosque Movement participants whose normative ideal involves perfecting their moral capacity.
Keywords relational autonomy  Islamist women  agency  Taliban woman
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DOI 10.1111/hypa.12402
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Freedom of the Will and the Concept of a Person.Harry G. Frankfurt - 1971 - Journal of Philosophy 68 (1):5-20.
“The Feminist Debate Over Values in Autonomy Theory”.Diana Tietjens Meyers - 2014 - In Mark Piper & Andrea Veltman (eds.), Autonomy, Oppression, and Gender. oxford university press. pp. 114-140.
Free Agency.Gary Watson - 1975 - Journal of Philosophy 72 (April):205-20.
Women and Human Development.Martha C. Nussbaum - 2003 - Mind 112 (446):372-375.

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