Mookherjee, M (2016) ‘Ambiguity, Existence, Cosmopolitanism: Simone de Beauvoir and a Global Theory of Feminist Recognition’. In: Recognition and Global Politics: Critical encounters between state and world. Manchester University Press. ISBN 9781784993337

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This chapter critically assesses the ability of Nancy Fraser’s status model of recognition to foster an international, or ‘cosmopolitan’, feminist theory of recognition. Fraser’s tripartite account of recognition, redistribution and political representation supports women’s empowerment as cosmopolitan agents of their own needs, rights and choices world-wide. However, Fraser’s objectivist understanding of misrecognition as status subordination fails to acknowledge the importance of lived experience of social suffering and injustice. The chapter therefore turns to Simone de Beauvoir’s ‘ethic of ambiguity’ to counter these problems and to reformulate our understanding of recognition. This approach emphasizes the tension between the human freedom to choose and the body, materiality and circumstances that perpetually constrain this freedom. Arguing that Beauvoir’s account of lived, embodied social suffering comprises two distinct ‘moments’ of gender misrecognition, namely the ‘suppressed potentiality’ and ‘resistance within commonality’ moments, the chapter argues that her philosophy sheds more light than is commonly thought on the way in which diverse women experience globalization today. The chapter concludes that Beauvoir’s emphasis on ambiguity points to cosmopolitan hope that consciousness of our essential ambiguity as human beings will form the basis for solidarity with those who exist beyond liberal rights or struggles for cultural recognition.

Item Type: Book Section
Additional Information: This chapter can be found in the published version of the book 'Recognition and Global Politics: Critical encounters between state and world'. Any relevant information needed can be found there, or online at;
Subjects: J Political Science > JC Political theory
J Political Science > JF Political institutions (General)
Divisions: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Social, Political and Global Studies
Depositing User: Symplectic
Date Deposited: 14 May 2021 09:30
Last Modified: 14 May 2021 09:30

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