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Social Philosophy Today

Volume 16, 2000
Race, Social Identity, and Human Dignity

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Displaying: 1-10 of 22 documents


1. Social Philosophy Today: Volume > 16
Cheryl Hughes Preface
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2. Social Philosophy Today: Volume > 16
Cheryl Hughes Introduction: Attending to Differences
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part i: the politics of difference
3. Social Philosophy Today: Volume > 16
Sharon Anderson-Gold Ambivalence and Identity in Black Culture
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For decades American sociologists maintained that due to the elimination of their ancestral heritage under slavery, African-American shad no ethnic culture. Social segregation was due to poverty rather than racial prejudice. Social theorist Robert Blauner contests this view. The theory that black culture is only a lower class life-style is flawed because it ignores the culture-producing effects of racism which is the basis for a distinctive African-American culture. Following Blauner, this paper argues that racism is a more complex phenomenon than discrimination because it asserts a type of inferiority that is not diminished by economic participation in the dominant culture. Racism encourages recurring social separations that set limits to assimilation. This paper also draws upon the work of Davis, Hacker and Winant to demonstrate how the bipolar construction of racial identity characteristic of racial relations in the United States precludes full social assimilation.
4. Social Philosophy Today: Volume > 16
C. Colwell The Politics of Characteristics
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This paper examines identity politics from a pragmatic stand point. Setting aside the contentious philosophic issues of constructivism and naturalism, it arguesthat individuals are already fragmented by the bureaucratic in stitutions of contemporary life. A politics that conceives of individuals as collections of characteristics, rather than as bearers of inherent natures, is necessary to confront and overcome the multiple forms of discrimination we face. I argue that the traditional forms of identity politics that have been deployed to overcome racism, patriarchalism, and homophobia have outlived their usefulness and must be replaced by a politics of characteristics.
5. Social Philosophy Today: Volume > 16
Margaret Betz Hull “Wholly ... a Daughter of Our People”: Hannah Arendt and the Jewish Question
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German political philosopher Hannah Arendt offers a distinctive, sometimes controversial, understanding of her Jewish heritage through her use of the notion"conscious pariah" and the role she allowed her Jewishness to play in her identity. Based on her interactive theory of unique human identity as constructed through political action, Arendt envisioned public acknowledgement of her Jewishness as a performative, political act of allegiance, not a statement of fixed identity. Arendt's insistence that the personal facticity of human identity only be given strategic public acknowledgement is also found in contemporary feminist theory that rejects essentialism in favor of strategic uses of "woman."
6. Social Philosophy Today: Volume > 16
Cornelius Kampe In Defense of Nationalism with Reference to Canada and the Baltics
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Recent studies have revamped the conceptual geography of nationalism and posited the new "cultural" conception of the notion that avoids the two stools of theethnic and civic conceptions. Cultural nationalism is distinct from ethnic nationalism and is morally innocent of the evils perpetrated in the name of nationalism. Indeed, it is a positive form of social organization that recognizes social identity and individual dignity very much in line with Charles Taylor's thought. The paper illustrates such theoretical studies of nationalism with reference to the concrete manifestations of nationalism in Canada and the Baltic States and argues that there are strong elements of cultural nationalism that can be identilied in the cultural policies and the political life of these nations.
part ii: social justice
7. Social Philosophy Today: Volume > 16
Kevin M. Graham After the Buses Stop Running: Distributive Justice or Dialogue?
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This paper analyzes the political and legal context in which the 1999 Omaha (Nebraska) Public Schools bond issue was proposed and approved, and the conception of social justice that underpins it. I argue that the 1999 bond issue marks a shift from an ideal of social justice centered on integration toward another ideal of justice centered on fair distribution of resources. I indicate some of the limits of this distributive conception of justice from both a theoretical and a practical point of view. I argue that distributive justice must be carried out in a context of participatory democracy in order to achieve social justice in public education in present-day Omaha.
8. Social Philosophy Today: Volume > 16
George Carwe Affirmative Action in Post-Apartheid South Africa: A Liberal Dilemma
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In order to dismantle the racial and social hierarchy that is the legacy of apartheid, South Africa has followed the lead of Western liberal democracies andappropriated the discourse of affirmative action. This paper argues that current affirmative action policy fails in significant ways because it paradoxically ignores the concrete social and historical conditions of race and racism in South Africa and simply aims to normalize competition among abstract individuals by using a principle of racial neutrality The author argues that social justice will only be achieved in South Africa in a context of deliberative democracy, where effective affirmative action aims at social cooperation, full participation of non-whites in decision-making, and the elimination of race as a relevant social category.
9. Social Philosophy Today: Volume > 16
Clarence Sholé Johnson A Critique of Cornel West’s Christo-Marxian Prescription for Social Justice
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This essay examines Cornel West's position that social justice for the socially marginalized, especially African Americans, can only be obtained through, among other things, a synthesis of Marxian critique of capitalistic culture and hegemony, and Black prophetic theological outlook. I bring out certain limitations in West's position, in particular, what I construe as his tendency to reduce all forms of oppression to the economic. Furthermore, even as I agree with West that capitalism needs to be examined, I argue, on the contrary, that social justice can still be effected within a reformed liberal capitalist system.
10. Social Philosophy Today: Volume > 16
Alistair Macleod Human Dignity, Individual Liberty, And the Free Market Ideal
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Taking for granted that there is a strong connection between respect far human dignity and endorsement of institutional arrangements that protect individual liberty, I ask whether this can be cited in support of a free market approach to the organization of the economy. The answer, it might seem, must be Yes. Prominent defenders of a free market system commonly assume that an important part of the rationale for the free market is that it protects individual liberty. Appearances are misleading, however. The free market ideal is not a mere corollary in the economic domain of the ideal of individual liberty. It stands, rather, at some distance from it, in both content and rationale. Indeed, conflict between these ideals in certain contexts can not be ruled out. The possibility has to be reckoned with, consequently, that an unqualified commitment to the free market system is not consistent with respect for human dignity.