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Benjamin Parzybok: IMG A Brief History of Video Games Played by Mayors, Presidents, and Emperors



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Feminism and the Abyss of Freedom

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Feminism and the Abyss of Freedom Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

In contemporary feminist theory, the betterment of society and the problem of feminine subjectivity persistently appear and reappear as the site that grounds all discussion on feminism. In Feminism and the Abyss of Freedom, Linda M. G. Zerilli argues that the persistence of this social- and subject-centered frame severely limits feminists capacity to think imaginatively about the central problem of feminist theory and practice: a politics concerned with freedom.

Offering both a discussion of feminism in its postmodern context and a critique of contemporary theory, Zerilli here challenges feminists to move away from a theory-based approach, which focuses on securing or contesting “women” as an analytic category of feminism, to one rooted in political action and judgment. She revisits the democratic problem of exclusion from participation in common affairs, and elaborates a freedom-centered feminism as the political practice of beginning anew, world-building, and judging.

In a series of deeply textured readings, Zerilli draws on the political thought of Hannah Arendt to articulate a nonsovereign conception of political freedom and to explore a variety of feminist understandings of freedom in the twentieth century, including ones proposed by Judith Butler, Monique Wittig, and the Milan Womens Bookstore Collective. In so doing, Zerilli hopes to retrieve what Arendt called feminisms lost treasure: the original and radical claim to political freedom.

 

Synopsis:

What does it mean to be free? We invoke the word frequently, yet the freedom of countless Americans is compromised by social inequalities that systematically undercut what they are able to do and to become. If we are to remedy these failures of freedom, we must move beyond the common assumption, prevalent in political theory and American public life, that individual agency is best conceived as a kind of personal sovereignty, or as self-determination or control over ones actions.

In Freedom Beyond Sovereignty, Sharon R. Krause shows that individual agency is best conceived as a non-sovereign experience because our ability to act and affect the world depends on how other people interpret and respond to what we do. The intersubjective character of agency makes it vulnerable to the effects of social inequality, but it is never in a strict sense socially determined. The agency of the oppressed sometimes surprises us with its vitality. Only by understanding the deep dynamics of agency as simultaneously non-sovereign and robust can we remediate the failed freedom of those on the losing end of persistent inequalities and grasp the scope of our own responsibility for social change. Freedom Beyond Sovereignty brings the experiences of the oppressed to the center of political theory and the study of freedom. It fundamentally reconstructs liberal individualism and enables us to see human action, personal responsibility, and the meaning of liberty in a totally new light.

About the Author

Linda M. G. Zerilli is professor of political science at Northwestern University. She is the author of Signifying Woman: Culture and Chaos in Rousseau, Burke, and Mill.

 

 

Table of Contents

Preface

Acknowledgments

INTRODUCTION

Why Feminism and Freedom Both Begin with the Letter F

Freedom as a Social Question

Freedom as a Subject Question

Freedom as a World Question

Feminism's "Lost Treasure"

CHAPTER ONE

Feminists Know Not What They Do: Judith Butler's Gender Trouble

and the Limits of Epistemology

Theory—The Craving for Generality?

A Wittgensteinian Reading of the Feminist Foundations Debate

Doing Gender, Following a Rule

Radical Imagination and Figures of the Newly Thinkable

Toward a Freedom-Centered Feminist Theory

CHAPTER TWO

Feminists Are Beginners: Monique Wittig's Les guérillères

and the "Problem of the New"

The Limits of Doubt

Language as a "War Machine"

Renversement

No-More and Not-Yet

Elles—A Fantastic Universal

CHAPTER THREE

Feminists Make Promises: The Milan Collective's Sexual Difference

and the Project of World-Building

Tearing Up the Social Contract

The Desire for Reparation

The Problem with Equality

Discovering Disparity

A Political Practice of Sexual Difference

Refiguring Rights

CHAPTER FOUR

Feminists Make Judgments: Hannah Arendt's Lectures on Kant's

Political Philosophy and the Affirmation of Freedom

Judgment and the "Problem of the New"

The Old Problem of Objectivity

Judging without a Concept

One Concept of Validity

A Political Concept of Validity

From World-Disclosure to World-Opening

"Being and thinking in my own identity where actually I am not"

Imagination and Freedom

Sensus Communis and the Practice of Freedom

CONCLUSION

Reframing the Freedom Question in Feminism

Feminism's Paradox of Founding

What a Political Claim Is

Feminism Is a World-Building Practice

Recovering Feminism's "Lost Treasure"

Notes

Index

Product Details

ISBN:
9780226981345
Author:
Zerilli, Linda M. G.
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
Author:
Krause, Sharon R.
Subject:
Women's Studies
Subject:
Feminism & Feminist Theory
Subject:
Feminism
Subject:
Feminist theory
Subject:
Feminist Studies-General
Subject:
Political
Edition Description:
1
Publication Date:
20051031
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
Professional and scholarly
Language:
English
Pages:
272
Dimensions:
9 x 6 in

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Related Subjects

History and Social Science » Feminist Studies » General
History and Social Science » Gender Studies » Womens Studies
History and Social Science » Politics » General

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Product details 272 pages University of Chicago Press - English 9780226981345 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by ,
What does it mean to be free? We invoke the word frequently, yet the freedom of countless Americans is compromised by social inequalities that systematically undercut what they are able to do and to become. If we are to remedy these failures of freedom, we must move beyond the common assumption, prevalent in political theory and American public life, that individual agency is best conceived as a kind of personal sovereignty, or as self-determination or control over ones actions.

In Freedom Beyond Sovereignty, Sharon R. Krause shows that individual agency is best conceived as a non-sovereign experience because our ability to act and affect the world depends on how other people interpret and respond to what we do. The intersubjective character of agency makes it vulnerable to the effects of social inequality, but it is never in a strict sense socially determined. The agency of the oppressed sometimes surprises us with its vitality. Only by understanding the deep dynamics of agency as simultaneously non-sovereign and robust can we remediate the failed freedom of those on the losing end of persistent inequalities and grasp the scope of our own responsibility for social change. Freedom Beyond Sovereignty brings the experiences of the oppressed to the center of political theory and the study of freedom. It fundamentally reconstructs liberal individualism and enables us to see human action, personal responsibility, and the meaning of liberty in a totally new light.

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