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Save for Later. Moreover, intersectionality is not without its feminist critics. Some proponents of intersectionality have suggested that the concept is limited in that it focuses primarily on the action-theoretical level. A full analysis of the intertwining of racial, gender, and class-based subordination also requires, on this view, a systemic or macro-level concept that corresponds to the concept of intersectionality.
This is the model describing the social structures that create social positions. Second, the notion of intersectionality describes micro-level processes — namely, how each individual and group occupies a social position within interlocking structures of oppression described by the metaphor of intersectionality. Other proponents of intersectionality have worried that discussions of intersectionality tend to focus too much on relations and sites of oppression and subordination, without also taking into account relations of privilege and dominance.
In response to this concern, philosophers such as Ann Garry have offered a broader, more inclusive conception of intersectionality that emphasizes both oppression and privilege see Garry Rather than supplementing the notion of intersectionality with a macro-level concept of interlocking systems of oppression or broadening it to include relations of oppression and privilege, Naomi Zack argues that feminists should move beyond it.
Zack maintains that intersectionality undermines its own goal of making feminism more inclusive.
From a very different perspective, queer feminists Lynne Huffer and Jasbir Puar have also criticized intersectionality as a theory of identity. Finally, Anna Carastathis has argued that the problem with intersectionality theory lies in its very success Carastathis and In response to these sorts of criticisms of intersectionality, some scholars have attempted to reformulate the concept either as a family resemblance concept Garry or by highlighting its provisionality Carastathis, Others have argued for an expansion of the intersectional framework to better account for the experiences of diasporic subjects Sheth or for a rethinking of this framework in relation to a Deleuzian notion of assemblage Puar and Most of the work on power done by post-structuralist feminists has been inspired by Foucault.
In his middle period works Foucault , , and , Foucault analyzes modern power as a mobile and constantly shifting set of force relations that emerge from every social interaction and thus pervade the social body. It also, according to Foucault, produces subjects. According to Foucault, modern power subjects individuals, in both senses of the term; it simultaneously creates them as subjects by subjecting them to power.
I will concentrate on highlighting a few central issues from this rich and diverse body of scholarship. Several of the most prominent Foucaultian-feminist analyses of power draw on his account of disciplinary power in order to critically analyze normative femininity. In Discipline and Punish , Foucault analyzes the disciplinary practices that were developed in prisons, schools, and factories in the 18th century — including minute regulations of bodily movements, obsessively detailed time schedules, and surveillance techniques — and how these practices shape the bodies of prisoners, students and workers into docile bodies , — The woman who checks her make-up half a dozen times a day to see if her foundation has caked or her mascara run, who worries that the wind or rain may spoil her hairdo, who looks frequently to see if her stocking have bagged at the ankle, or who, feeling fat, monitors everything she eats, has become, just as surely as the inmate in the Panopticon, a self-policing subject, a self committed to relentless self-surveillance.
As Susan Bordo points out, this model of self-surveillance does not adequately illuminate all forms of female subordination — all too often women are actually compelled into submission by means of physical force, economic coercion, or emotional manipulation.
Juridical notions of power appear to regulate political life in purely negative terms….. In Bodies that Matter , Butler extends this analysis to consider the impact of subjection on the bodily materiality of the subject.
Thus, for Butler, power understood as subjection is implicated in the process of determining which bodies come to matter, whose lives are livable and whose deaths grievable. In The Psychic Life of Power , Butler expands further on the Foucaultian notion of subjection, bringing it into dialogue with a Freudian account of the psyche. In the introduction to that text, Butler notes that subjection is a paradoxical form of power.
Although Butler credits Foucault with recognizing the fundamentally ambivalent character of subjection, she also argues that he does not offer an account of the specific mechanisms by which the subjected subject is formed. For this, Butler maintains, we need an analysis of the psychic form that power takes, for only such an analysis can illuminate the passionate attachment to power that is characteristic of subjection. In his writings on power, Foucault seems to eschew normative categories, preferring instead to describe the way that power functions in local practices and to argue for the appropriate methodology for studying power.
He even seems to suggest that such normative notions as autonomy, legitimacy, sovereignty, and so forth, are themselves effects of modern power this point has been contested recently in the literature on Foucault; see Allen a and Oksala Thus, for example, although Foucault claims that power is always accompanied by resistance, Fraser argues that he cannot explain why domination ought to be resisted. Other feminists have criticized the Foucaultian claim that the subject is an effect of power.
Hartsock makes two related arguments against Foucault. First, she argues that his analysis of power is not a theory for women because it does not examine power from the epistemological point of view of the subordinated; in her view, Foucault analyzes power from the perspective of the colonizer, rather than the colonized Despite these and other trenchant feminist critiques of Foucault see, for example, Hekman, ed. For example, in her book, Analyzing Oppression , Ann Cudd draws on the framework of rational choice theory to analyze oppression for related work on rational choice theory and power, see Dowding and ; for critical discussion, see Allen c.
Cudd defines oppression in terms of four conditions: 1 the group condition, which states that individuals are subjected to unjust treatment because of their membership or ascribed membership in certain social groups Cudd , 21 ; 2 the harm condition, which stipulates that individuals are systematically and unfairly harmed as a result of such membership Cudd , 21 ; 3 the coercion condition, which specifies that the harms that those individuals suffer are brought about through unjustified coercion Cudd , 22 ; and 4 the privilege condition, which states that such coercive, group-based harms count as oppression only when there exist other social groups who derive a reciprocal privilege or benefit from that unjust harm Cudd , 22— Any satisfactory answer to this question must draw on a combination of empirical, social-scientific research and normative philosophical theorizing, inasmuch as a theory of oppression is an explanatory theory of a normative concept Cudd , That oppression is a normative — rather than a purely descriptive — concept is evident from the fact that it is defined as an unjust or unfair set of power relations.
Cudd argues that social-theoretical frameworks such as functionalism, psychoanalysis, and evolutionary psychology are inadequate for theorizing oppression Cudd , 39— Structural rational choice theory, in her view, best meets reasonable criteria of explanatory adequacy and therefore provides the best social-theoretical framework for analyzing oppression.
Wells, Gordon. Like lynching photographs and the Rodney King video, the current videos of the police shooting African Americans provide evidence that is important but ultimately insufficient. Academic Tools How to cite this entry. Freud theorized sexual repression as a principal cause of neurosis and responded by inventing the talking cure of therapy as a method for restoring mental health. These "facts" from the past participle of facare, "to act, or do" hence: "what has been done" in the past are abstractions to students, removed from the concrete life of the discipline. However, I believe there is a need to re-emphasize this point, which seems to be critical if we are to address the problem of induction in qualitative research.
Having made this distinction, Haslanger then argues for a mixed analysis of oppression that does not attempt to reduce agent oppression to structural oppression or vice versa. Haslanger also connects her account of structural domination and oppression to her analysis of gender. Other things -- such as norms, identities, symbols, etc -- are then gendered in relation to those social relations.
On her analysis, gender categories are defined in terms of how one is socially positioned with respect to a broad complex of oppressive relations between groups that are distinguished from one another by means of sexual difference see By claiming that women are oppressed as women, Haslanger reiterates an earlier claim made by radical feminists such as Catharine MacKinnon see, for example, MacKinnon , Up to this point, much of this entry has focused, as does much of the feminist literature on this topic, on power understood in terms of an oppressive or unjust power-over relationship.
However, a significant strand of feminist theorizing of power starts with the contention that the conception of power as power-over, domination, or control is implicitly masculinist. In order to avoid such masculinist connotations, many feminists from a variety of theoretical backgrounds have argued for a reconceptualization of power as a capacity or ability, specifically, the capacity to empower or transform oneself and others.
Thus, these feminists have tended to understood power not as power-over but as power-to. Wartenberg argues that this feminist understanding of power, which he calls transformative power, is actually a type of power-over, albeit one that is distinct from domination because it aims at empowering those over whom it is exercised.
However, most of the feminists who embrace this transformative or empowerment-based conception of power explicitly define it as an ability or capacity and present it as an alternative to putatively masculine notions of power-over. This conception of power as transformative and empowering is also a prominent theme in lesbian feminism and ecofeminism. Hartsock finds it significant that the theme of power as capacity or empowerment has been so prominent in the work of women who have written about power. Although this movement has had more influence in mainstream media and culture than in academia -- indeed, in many ways it can be read as a critique of academic feminism -- it has also sparked scholarly debate.
In contrast, power feminists endorse a more individualistic, self-assertive, even aggressive conception of empowerment, one that tends to define empowerment in terms of individual choice with little concern for the contexts within which choices are made or the options from which women are able to choose. In order to prompt such a rethinking, Caputi turns to the resources of the early Frankfurt School of critical theory and to the work of Jacques Derrida. Focusing on empowerment in the context of international development practice, Khader develops a deliberative perfectionist account of adaptive preferences.
This allows her to acknowledge the psychological effects of oppression working through the mechanism of IAPs without denying the possibility of agency on the part of the oppressed. Khader draws on her deliberative perfectionist account of IAPs to diagnose and move beyond certain controversies over the notion of empowerment that have emerged in feminist development practice and theorizing.
While acknowledging that the language of empowerment in development practice can have ideological effects, Khader addresses these concerns by providing a clearer conception of empowerment than the one implicit in the development literature and emphasizing what she understands as the normative core of this concept, its relation to human flourishing. This definition of empowerment enables her to rethink certain dilemmas of empowerment that have emerged in development theory and practices.
For example, many development practitioners define empowerment in terms of choice, and then struggle to make sense of apparently self-subordinating choices. If choice equals empowerment, then does this mean that the choice to subordinate or disempower oneself is an instance of empowerment? For Khader, empowerment is a messy, complex, and incremental concept. As I claimed in the introduction, and as I hope this entry shows, the concept of power is central to a wide variety of debates in feminist philosophy. Indeed, the very centrality of this concept to feminist theorizing creates difficulties in writing an entry such as this one: since the concept of power is operative on one way or another in almost all work in feminist theory, it is extremely difficult to place limits on the relevant sources.
Throughout, I have tried to emphasize those texts and debates in which the concept of power is a central theme, even if only an implicit one. I have also tried to prioritize those authors and texts that have been most influential within feminist philosophy, as opposed to the wider terrain of feminist theory or gender studies, though I acknowledge that this distinction is difficult to maintain and perhaps not always terribly useful.
Questionable as such framing choices may be, they do offer some much needed help in delimiting the range of relevant sources and providing focus and structure to the discussion. Arendt, Hannah Beauvoir, Simone de critical theory existentialism feminism-analytic feminism-body feminism-continental feminism-intersections feminism-radical feminism-sex feminist philosophy, interventions: liberal feminism feminist philosophy, topics: perspectives on class and work feminist philosophy, topics: perspectives on the self Foucault, Michel identity politics Marx, Karl phenomenology race.
Defining power 2. Power as Resource: Liberal Feminist Approaches 3. Power as Domination 3. Power as Empowerment 5.
Defining power In social and political theory, power is often regarded as an essentially contested concept see Lukes and , and Connolly Power as Resource: Liberal Feminist Approaches Those who conceptualize power as a resource understand it as a positive social good that is currently unequally distributed amongst women and men. Power as Empowerment Up to this point, much of this entry has focused, as does much of the feminist literature on this topic, on power understood in terms of an oppressive or unjust power-over relationship.
Concluding thoughts As I claimed in the introduction, and as I hope this entry shows, the concept of power is central to a wide variety of debates in feminist philosophy. Bibliography Ahmed, Sara, Alcoff, Linda, Allen, Amy, Al-Saji, Alia, Arendt, Hannah, Bachrach, P. Bartky, Sandra, Femininity and Domination: Studies in the Phenomenology of Oppression. New York: Routledge ———, Beauvoir, Simone de, Benhabib, Seyla, Bordo, Susan, Butler, Judith, Caputi, Mary, Carastathis, Anna, Clegg, Stewart, Frameworks of Power , London: Sage.
European Journal of Pragmatism and American Philosophy , 3 2 : Collins, Patricia Hill, et al. Combahee River Collective, Connolly, William, Crenshaw, Kimberle, a. Barlett and Rosanne Kennedy eds. Cudd, Ann, Dahl, Robert, Davis, Angela, Diamond, Irene and Lee Quinby eds. Dowding, Keith, Eisenstein, Zillah, Feder, Ellen, Fisher, Linda, and Lester Embree eds.
Firestone, Shulamith, Follett, Mary Parker, Metcalf and L. Urwick eds. Foucault, Michel, Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison , trans. Alan Sheridan. New York: Vintage. Robert Hurley. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Fraser, Nancy, Social Text , — Frye, Marilyn, Garry, Ann, Hypatia , 26 4 : Gines, Kathryn, Goswami, Namita, Maeve M. Hartmann, Heidi, Hartsock, Nancy, New York: Routledge. Hirschmann and Christine Di Stefano eds. Haslanger, Sally, Haugaard, Mark, Heinamaa, Sara, Heinamaa, Sara and Lanei Rodemeyer eds.