The deconstruction of all 'principled positions' creates a value vacuum which, in turn, leads to a state of ethical and political paralysis. The contributors to Principled Positions ponder these dilemmas and try to build bridges between the modernist absolutes of truth, value and justice and the anti-totalising spirit of postmodernism.
This article examines discourses invoked in the UK debates about prostitution and trafficking in women. The authors suggest that there are three striking features about these discourses: the absence of the sex work discourse, the dominance of the public nuisance discourse in relation to kerb-crawling and the dominance of moral order discourses in relation to trafficking. At a time when the UK is about to revise its sex laws, it is important to consider the discourses that frame prostitution policies in (...) other European countries, with a view to broadening the range of policy options. In this context, the authors compare the UK with the Netherlands, where a sex work discourse has framed debates. This comparison indicates that UK prostitution discourses could be shaped by discourses other than those of public nuisance and moral order and may open up new policy options. (shrink)
Spanning nearly two decades, from 1980 to 1996, this Reader investigates the debates which have best characterized feminist theory. Including such articles as Pornography and Fantasy, The Body and Cinema, Nature as Female, and A Manifesto for Cyborgs, the extracts examine thoughts on sexualtiy as a domain of exploration, the visual representation of women, what being a feminist means, and why feminists are increasingly involved in political struggles to negotiate the context and meaning of technological development. With writings by bell (...) hooks, Alice Jardine, and Andrea Dworkin, this mulit-cultural Reader reflects the dynamic nature of feminist debates and the genuine diversity within current feminist theory. Capturing the sense of the rapid movement within feminist theory and criticism, Feminisms is ideal for anyone interested in feminism and the history behind it. (shrink)
The public/private dichotomy has long been the object of considerable attention for feminists. We argue that, by focusing their attention on a divide which has declined in importance, feminists may fail to keep up with the current means by which sexual inequalities are perpetuated. Furthermore, by concentrating on this divide feminists risk reproducing such dichotomous thinking in their own work, discursively perpetuating that which they had initially hoped to displace. We begin by surveying feminist critiques of the public/private dichotomy, consider (...) recent moves to go beyond critique, yet suggest that the dichotomy continues to be a framing concern within feminist work. We then survey the way in which space has been understood within geography, and consider the implications of adopting a relational conception of space for analysis of public and private in political theory. We offer a broader framework for examining the ways in which sexual inequalities are reproduced in contemporary society. We therefore open up the possibility that over time inequalities may be mediated to a greater or lesser degree by spatial divisions. This places a further pressure on the assumption that the public/private divide, or some variation thereof, must be at the heart of feminist theorizing. (shrink)
The pursuit of equal citizenship has been complicated by two recent developments: the emergence of multi‐level governance (and with it the growing importance of local, regional and global levels of citizenship practices) and the emergence of group recognition claims (which signal the growing importance of particularised experiences and multiple inequality agendas). These developments shape the way citizenship is both practiced and analysed. Mapping neat citizenship models onto distinct nation‐states and evaluating these in relation to formal equality is no longer an (...) adequate approach. Comparative citizenship analyses need to be considered in relation to multiple inequalities and their intersections, and to multi‐level governance and trans‐national organising. This, in turn, suggests that comparative citizenship analysis needs to consider new spaces in which struggles for equal citizenship occur and new dynamics interactions between them. (shrink)
This article explores feminist arguments for group representation and suggests that there are three distinct theoretical frameworks on which these arguments are based: an equality perspective leading to a strategy of inclusion, a difference perspective leading to a strategy of reversal and a diversity perspective leading to a strategy of displacement. I focus in particular on the defence of group representation developed by Iris Marion Young, because this is made from a diversity perspective, which offers the most theoretically satisfying account (...) of subjectivity but is (perhaps because of this) least likely to endorse group representation. Young’s thought is particularly interesting because it attempts to resolve some long-standing dilemmas in feminist political thought. In particular, Young aims to combine a deconstructive strategy of displacement with a model of group representation by developing a relational (rather than interest or identity-based) conception of social groups, by using theories of deliberative democracy. To do so she develops a second conception of objective judgement, which displaces the apparent dichotomy between impartiality and particularity. Although the concept of social groups is compelling, the concept of objective judgement is less so and further work could usefully be done to establish whether a diversity perspective can successfully displace the dichotomy between impartiality and partiality, and so offer a coherent defence of group representation. (shrink)
Feminist critiques of deliberative democracy have focused on the abstraction, impartiality and rationality of mainstream accounts of deliberation. This paper explores the claim, common to many of these critiques, that these features are problematic because they are gendered, and that a more women-friendly account of democracy would embrace corporeality, contextuality and the affective. While acknowledging the merit of such a claim, the paper nonetheless suggests that the pursuit of social justice and democratic inclusion actually leads many feminists to embrace a (...) modified account of deliberative democracy, albeit in a modified account form. This can be explained by the dialogical conception of impartiality offered by theories of deliberative democracy. The paper suggests that the embrace of deliberative democracy by feminist theorists is a positive move, to be more widely acknowledged. Moreover, once acknowledged, feminists have much to offer deliberative democrats in terms of considering what the pursuit of dialogic impartiality might entail. If conceived as demanding both a 'lack of bias' and 'inclusivity', attention needs to be focused squarely on the issue of inclusion, and the institutional and material conditions for securing inclusion in deliberation. (shrink)