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Kenneth Baynes

This essay explores two largely distinct discussions about equality: the 'luck egalitarian' debate concerning the appropriate metric of equality and the 'equality and difference' debate which has focused on the need for egalitarianism to consider the underlying norms in light of which the abstract principle to 'treat equals equally' operates. In the end, both of these discussions point to the importance of political equality for egalitarianism more generally and, in the concluding section, an attempt is made to show how the ideal of 'equal concern and respect' might best be pursued given the results of these important discussions.

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Ted Honderich

Democracy has been justified as the political system whose citizens are sovereign, which is to say most free or most equal in their political experience, participation or consent, and most likely to be benefited by economic freedoms. Most importantly, democracy is recommended as that form of government which gets things more right than any other form of government. But this traditional view, and also more recent qualifications of this view, is simply inadequate, refuted and rendered nonsensical by very real electoral, wealth, income and power inequalities in democratic societies. Nevertheless, it is this kind of hierarchic democracy, like those of the United States and the United Kingdom, whose systems of government are exactly not true to the idea that two heads are better than one and more heads better than two, which reaches to judgements about Palestine, 9/11, Iraq, 7/7 and about all that is to come after those things.

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Daryl Glaser

This article suggests ways of demarcating a liberal-egalitarian family of conceptions within political philosophy. It seeks to accommodate diverse conceptions while nevertheless demarcating liberal egalitarianism in a way that is coherent, distinctive and attractive. Liberal egalitarianism (the article argues) is about the simultaneous strong defence of individual liberty and substantive equality. But because there are real tensions and sometimes contradictions between certain liberties and substantive equalities, liberal egalitarianism is also necessarily a set of theories about how to address these. Liberal egalitarians differ in their accounts of equality and in their proposals for addressing liberty-equality tensions. Even so, I argue, any attractive and distinctively liberal-egalitarian resolution of these tensions must require a strong but morally individualist account of substantive equality, protection of political and civil liberties from trade-offs with equality or welfare, weak protection of property rights and respect for a proceduralist-democratic minimum.

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Simeon Mitropolitski

Modern political theory, while defining a democratic political regime, puts an emphasis on institutions and procedures. According to this view, whether a particular country is democratic or not depends on the ability of the opposition to oust the incumbent government without leaving the framework of existing institutions and procedures. Cultural values that sustain the democratic polity, including the spirit of political equality, are given much less attention. These values are assumed to be already present, either as a reflection of our similar physical constitution or as a reflection of the presence of democratic political regimes. This research challenges both the monopoly of the procedural understanding of democracy and the lack of particular interest regarding the construction of egalitarian political culture. I claim, first, that the rise of an egalitarian political culture contributes to the establishment of a democratic political regime and, second, that the establishment of modern schools in the late sixteenth century contributed to the construction of this egalitarian political culture.

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Emancipation as social equality

Subaltern politics in contemporary India

Indrajit Roy

The ethnographies presented in this article point to the ways in which members of oppressed communities imagine emancipation. Instead of analyzing emancipation as stemming from statist precepts of citizenship, I want to direct attention—along with other articles in this special section—to the “arcadian” spaces in which exploited, marginalized, and discriminated populations forge membership in the political community in contentious engagement with both state and society. I draw on ethnographic fieldwork with Musahar landless laborers in the Indian state of Bihar during the winter and spring of 2009–2010, with follow-up visits in September 2013 and July 2014. I focus on their engagement with two organizations, one a leftist political party and the other a cultural organization, to advance my claims. The ethnography reveals that, for the Musahar laborers, ideas of emancipation are anchored in reclamations of social equality rather than a telos of state-centered citizenship.

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Neil Hibbert

This paper examines the prospects for social justice in a democratic community that is justified through the idea of contractual exchange as a cooperative scheme for mutual advantage. Common assumptions concerning the narrow institutional range of the mutual advantage framework are argued against, clearing away certain tensions between exchange and markets and equality and the welfare state. However, it is maintained that the principle of equality must further condition institutional formation beyond efficiency to satisfy the requirements of social justice. It is further advanced that the interest-based motivation in the idea of efficient exchange can be maintained in an egalitarian framework, when the shared interests and expectations of citizenship constitute an equal political baseline, from which universal social entitlement can be justified.

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Engaging with an Invisible Politics

Gender Mainstreaming as a Practice in Newfoundland and Labrador

Glynis George

This article examines the way feminists engage with gender mainstreaming in their attempt to transform gender inequalities in Newfoundland and Labrador, a province on Canada's east coast. It employs an anthropological perspective to explore one aspect of gender mainstreaming, namely the way gender analysis models are deployed in specific encounters, to consider how such equality templates can both reproduce and challenge pre-existing social relations. I argue that a feminist practice approach in anthropology, in particular its reflexive and practice orientation, can foreground the way gender models are actually implemented and interpreted. Through this analysis I argue that gender mainstreaming at this point reproduces wider relations of power - governmental and normative - and cannot yet accommodate preexisting social cleavages in the province.

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Jonas Hultin Rosenberg

The question of who ought to be included in the demos is distinct from, and yet related to, the question of how to distribute decisionmaking power among those who are included. Political equality is the most common answer to the former question within democratic theory. In democratic practice, it is usually realized through one person one vote. Within democratic theory, there is not as much agreement as to what the answer to the latter question should be. The answer that has attracted most attention within the scholarly literature is that all those who are affected should be included. However, prominent scholars have argued that this all-affected principle is incompatible with political equality and therefore an unattractive answer to the question of inclusion. This article challenges this critique and argues that it is based on a misconception of political equality and a narrow reading of the all-affected principle.

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Peter Hudson

This article compares and contrasts liberal democracy and national democracy. It attempts this by focusing on each of these as specific state forms with an effectivity or 'tilt' of their own which includes a determinate preconstruction of the category of the People. It is argued, inter alia, that internal to national democracy is a conception of colonialism (and anti-colonialism) and that the national-racial reference is thus internal to the national democratic conception of equality. In conclusion it is proposed that the tilt of a state form is expressed via the distinction of grammatical mood between the imperative and the subjunctive and that the 1994 South African Constitution, when read in this way, is more liberal democratic than national democratic.

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Gender Parity and Equality in the Sultanate of Oman

A Case in Education for the Gulf Cooperation Council Countries

Faryal Khan and Maricel Fernandez-Carag

This article presents a critical case analysis of gender parity in the Sultanate of Oman. By reviewing policy and practice pertaining to gender parity and gender equality in education in the Gulf Cooperation Council Countries (GCC), specifically in the Sultanate of Oman, lessons and insights can be drawn to formulate strategies for promoting gender parity and equality that will inform an Education 2030 policy dialogue in relation to achieving the new targets for Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) focus on Goal 4—quality of education in the next 15 years. Specifically, the article attempts to answer: (1) What are the indicators of progress toward achieving Goal 5 on gender parity? (2) What are the strategies/policies adopted to achieve Goal 5? (3) What are the remaining challenges/obstacles to achieve Goal 5 on gender parity? (4) What are the recommendations to eliminate gender parity and the implications for gender equality reforms?