23 SES 10 D, Diversity as a System of Exclusion: Historical Notes on Contemporary Thought (Part 1)
Symposium to be continued in 23 SES 11 D
In 1991, Moira Gatens published Feminism and Philosophy: Perspectives on Difference and Equality, which explicated distinctions between two historically contemporary, but analytically incompatible approaches to feminist social justice. One approach construes social justice as providing women with access and opportunities in the world that are equal to those of men (i.e., "Recruit more women into Physics."). A second approach construes social justice as recognizing and respecting the ways women are different from men (i.e., "Pay childcare workers the same salaries as university professors."). Both positions articulate social justice commitments across differences. However, the two approaches rest on competing assumptions about equality, and so advances in one direction may indicate setbacks for the other. Following a tradition of analysis similar to Gatens', this paper uses the lens of nonrepresentational theory to explicate disparate versions of social justice including Freire's critical pedagogy, Latour's Actor Network Theory, and Butler's performativity. The analysis focuses on linguistic, epistemological, affective, and rhetorical features of these theories of difference. In particular, I am interested in configurations of difference that depart more or less from structural accounts, and how those configurations enact representations, performances, and nonrepresentational frameworks for thinking about difference and justice.
Butler, J. & Athanasiou, A. (2013). Dispossession: The performative in the political. New York: Polity Freire, P. (1998). Pedagogy of freedom: ethics, democracy and civic courage. Lanham, Rowman & Littlefield Publishers. Gatens, M. (1991). Feminism and philosophy: Perspectives on difference and equality. New York: Polity. Latour, B. (2007). Reassembling the social: An introduction to Actor-Network-Theory. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Thrift, N. (2008). Non-representational theory: Space, politics, affect. London: Routledge.
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