Challenging Liberalism: Feminism as Political Critique by Lisa H. Schwartzman

By Lisa H. Schwartzman

Questions about the relevance and cost of varied liberal options are on the middle of significant debates between feminist philosophers and social theorists. even supposing many feminists invoke strategies similar to rights, equality, autonomy, and freedom in arguments for liberation, a few try and stay away from them, noting that they could additionally make stronger and perpetuate oppressive social constructions. In Challenging Liberalism Schwartzman explores the explanations why strategies similar to rights and equality can occasionally toughen oppression. She argues that convinced sorts of abstraction and individualism are primary to liberal technique and that those provide upward thrust to a couple of difficulties. Drawing at the paintings of feminist ethical, political, and felony theorists, she constructs an strategy that employs those ideas, whereas viewing them from inside of a critique of social family members of strength.

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In suggesting that equal concern and respect be considered a goal, I am not proposing that it be considered a goal instead of a right. Rather, I am addressing the problem of Dworkin’s distinguishing rights from goals as if they were mutually exclusive. Viewing rights also as goals (and not in opposition to them), one faces the need to strive to achieve the conditions in which all people can exercise rights—conditions under which rights are possessed in more than a merely formal sense. Furthermore, I do not mean to suggest that the Constitution should not protect the goal of equality or that equality should be left up to the whims of whoever is currently in power.

45 Unless rights are viewed in an equality context, it can too easily be assumed that all individuals have equal access to these rights when they do not; such assumptions work against the equality interests of socially disadvantaged persons. Moreover, it is this dismissal of concern for equality—and this misunderstanding of equality to mean mere neutrality among expressed preferences— that is largely responsible for the liberal assumption that rights are separate from goals, that individuals already possess them and they need only be preserved and protected.

Without being able to envision more specifically the sort of society that would develop out of his abstract model, Dworkin ends up simply assuming that many aspects of our own society would remain unchanged in his ideal. Of course, every ideal theory must make use of some information from one’s own society. Dworkin never suggests that his ideal would be appropriate for everyone, in any time period, under any conditions, but rather that it is supposed to serve as an ideal for societies much like ours in the modern world.

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