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41. Social Philosophy Today: Volume > 17
Nancy Potter Is There a Role for Humor in the Midst of Conflict?
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Theories of humor tend to neglect the role that humor plays in situations of conflict. This paper explores epistemological and political dimensions of humor as it is used by members of disenfranchised and otherwise marginalized groups. Not only can this kind of humor I call "oppositional" aid members of oppressed groups in preparing for conflict; it can also help people's beliefs shift in politically significant ways. Although I think the use of oppositional humor can be very constructive both politically and epistemologically indealing with conflict, I am skeptical about the use of oppositional humor in situations of direct conflict resolution. Nevertheless, I suggest that a type of humor called banter can be productively engaged in by the relatively disempowered when certain parameters are drawn.
42. Social Philosophy Today: Volume > 17
Alex Wellington Professional Ethics for Mediators: Tensions Between Justice and Accountability
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In this paper, I examine the development and application of codes of ethics for alternative dispute resolution practitioners, specifically mediators. I discuss thecommon vocabulary that one linds in model codes of conduct, and address the various dilemmas that arise for the "ethical" practitioner who wishes to model their practices on the standards found in such codes. I assert that some of the most intriguing and trenchant work on ethical dilemmas for mediators concerns the tension between accountability to participants, and aspirations to ensure just outcomes. The latter invokes norms pertaining to social justice in society at large. I suggest that it can be helplul to conceive of such dilemmas in terms of a contrast between obligations a rising from the "role" of an ADR prolessional and the "policy" dimensions of evaluating the impacts (intended and unintended) of the work of ADR professionals on society at large.
43. Social Philosophy Today: Volume > 17
Gaile Pohlhaus Diversity and Communication in Feminist Theory
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When diversity ligures in ways that insulate women's differences from one another rather than theorizing about them together, it is difficult to see how interactionamong women that recognizes their differences is possible. In turn, the possibility of communication may seen inordinately difficult when taking place among diverse groups about their differences. While not denying these difficulties, I want to avoid approaches and practices that may draw us into a stalemate in considering possibilities for communication. In the following, I bring together Maria Lugones's reflections on cross-cultural understanding with some of the ways of articulating understanding highlighted by the later Wittgenstein, which are open to the possibility of communicating differences.
44. Social Philosophy Today: Volume > 17
Heidi Nelson Hochenedel, Douglas Mann On the Impotence of Cultural Post-Feminism
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In this paper, we argue that the Cultural Left and what we call cultural post-feminism has done little to alleviate conditions of subjugation and oppression of girlsand women outside of academia and has in fact been complacent with patriarchal social structures. Cultural post-feminism, with its focus on difference and identity and its fear of speaking on behalf of the down-trodden for fear of "colonizing" them with Western ideologies, has made few serious attempts to evoke a real alternative to super-tolerant liberal pluralism. Further, we argue that academic feminism's traditional involvement with textual analysis rather than pragmatic social and political action has cooperated with the conservative academic climate in colleges and universities, giving students an overly abstract and elitist view of the feminist project. We call for a more active and progressive form of academic feminist thought, one that focuses less on difference, identity, and textuality, and more on social and political equality and justice.
45. Social Philosophy Today: Volume > 17
Letitia Mercia Meynell Dredging the Third Wave: Reflections on the Feminism of the Nineties
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In this paper I examine third wave leminism in the hopes of shedding light on its relationship to the concurrent contemporary backlash against leminism . I investigate this by attempting to answer two questions. First, given the nature of the first and second waves, is the third wave appropriately so called? I tentatively conclude that it is not. Second, I ask whether the issue of identity, which is central to third wave analysis, is addressed well by third wavers. I suggest that there are serious problems with the rejection of identity politics that characterizes much third wave feminism, particularly in the repudiation of second wave feminism that seems to accompany it. I conclude that, at best, the third wave seems unprepared to light the present backlash and, at worst, it appears to be a part of it.
46. Social Philosophy Today: Volume > 17
Sally J. Scholz Resurrecting Language through Social Criticism: Toni Morrison's Paradise as Insurgent Political Discourse
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Social criticism can take on many forms ranging from theoretical exposition to non-violent protests. This paper considers literary art as a form of social criticism and uses Morrison's novel Paradise as the exemplary case to show that the confrontation of unjust ideas through social criticism is essential in building non-oppressive relations open to diversity. In this sense, social criticism is a paradigm of communication that, although often entailing conflict, ultimately aims at reconciliation. I begin with a discussion of social criticism followed by a short synopsis of the novel. I then examine the novel as social criticism focusing on a process I call "twinning." The paper ends with a critical evaluation of the power and possibilities of literary art as social criticism.
47. Social Philosophy Today: Volume > 17
John R. Wright Understanding Racism as an Ethical Ideology: An Approach to Critical Communication in a White Supremacist Society
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To be fully understood, contemporary forms of racism must be grasped as ethical ideologies rooted in an independent system of value classification. Racism does not merely result from an intrusion of strategic action on communicative action, as discourse ethicists might argue. In contemporary racism, the minority group is seen as perversely incapable of developing a capacity for the behavior that would constitute just moral reciprocity as decided in the contractual situation. Their standing as members of the moral community is thereby qualilied To address racism discursively, the racist must be met with more than an abstract moral demand. Rather, racists must be confronted with the needs and capacities of the racial outsider, so that they might perceive her acts as virtuous and recognize the aptness of her use of value-concepts.
48. Social Philosophy Today: Volume > 17
Cheryl Hughes, James Wong Preface
49. Social Philosophy Today: Volume > 17
Contributors
50. Social Philosophy Today: Volume > 21
Contributors
51. Social Philosophy Today: Volume > 21
Lisa H. Schwartzman Neutrality, Choice, and Contexts of Oppression: Examining Feminist Perfectionism
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In her recent book, Perfectionism and Contemporary Feminist Values, Kimberly Yuracko argues that perfectionism is a promising theory for feminists, and she suggests that “what really motivates and drives feminists’ arguments is not a neutral commitment to freedom or equality but a perfectionist commitment to a particular, albeit inchoate, vision of human flourishing.” In my paper, I explore the connections between feminism, perfectionism, and critiques of liberal neutrality by focusing critical attention on Yuracko’s arguments. After summarizing Yuracko’s position, I contend that she wrongly portrays feminists as criticizing the “choices” of individual women, rather than attacking the structures of power in which these choices are situated. By misconstruing feminist arguments in this way, Yuracko suggests that feminists are endorsing a form of liberal neutrality, rather than offering a critique of such neutrality in favor of a more radical analysis.In the second half of my paper, I develop an alternative analysis, which I call “equality as non-domination,” which I think more accurately describes many of the feminist arguments Yuracko considers. I compare my alternative account to both liberal neutrality and to Yuracko’s perfectionism. Because feminism is centrally concerned with criticizing social structures of domination and unjust hierarchy, I conclude that it cannot be understood as falling squarely on either side of the neutrality/perfectionism debate.
52. Social Philosophy Today: Volume > 21
Sally J. Scholz Human Rights, Radical Feminism, and Rape in War
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This paper looks at some prominent discussions of rape in war as a violation of human rights within Radical Feminism. I begin with a brief overview of United Nations declarations and actions on the subject of rape in war. I then look at some radical feminist accounts of rape in war as a violation of human rights with particular emphasis on the discussions of Susan Brownmiller and Catharine MacKinnon. I conclude the paper with a critical analysis of these radical feminist accounts and show how our human rights talk must distinguish between types of rape in war situations or risk silencing the individual victims.
53. Social Philosophy Today: Volume > 21
Rebecca Whisnant Rethinking Nonviolence: Intimate Abuse and the Needs of Survivors
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The paper considers nonviolence, not merely as a set of tactics for demonstrations and protests, but as a broad ethical ideal governing attitudes as well as conduct. I argue that the meanings of nonviolence—its relationship to personal and political honor and integrity—may differ with one’s level of privilege and social authorization to employ violence. Furthermore, the moral and attitudinal commitments prominent in some strands of nonviolence theory are in some ways at odds with the needs of survivors of violent abuse—particularly of the kinds typically committed by men against women and children in intimate contexts. There isthus an apparent tension between some of the commitments of nonviolence theory and our obligation to demonstrate solidarity with survivors. Recognizing and resolving this apparent tension is a necessary further step in the development of nonviolence theory.
54. Social Philosophy Today: Volume > 21
Gary B. Herbert On the Misconceived Genealogy of Human Rights
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The general practice of tracing the concept of human rights back to its presumed philosophical origins in the concepts of natural law and/or natural right, and invoking those concepts to give the idea of human rights its moral direction and philosophical substance, is dramatically mistaken. Interpreting human rights as the philosophical progeny of these earlier traditions allows the uglier aspects of natural rights and natural law, which the concept of human rights was intended to remedy, to serve as the defining characteristics of human rights.
55. Social Philosophy Today: Volume > 21
Mary Briody Mahowald Our Bodies Ourselves: Disability and Standpoint Theory
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The term “disability” may be used narrowly or broadly to identify conditions that impede an individual’s ability to function or flourish. I argue that a broad definition is both epistemologically and ethically preferable to a narrow one. Only if we recognize that all human beings embody disabilities as well as abilities is justice and respect for the autonomy of those who fit the narrow definition possible. A liability of the broad definition, however, is its risk of masking differences that need to be addressed explicitly if justice is to be maximized. To address this liability, I propose “standpoint theory,” a strategy supported by classical pragmatists and feminist authors who recognize the inevitable myopia of all of us. I conclude with an application of standpoint theory to a specific disability: cognitive impairment.
56. Social Philosophy Today: Volume > 21
Sharon Anderson-Gold Memory, Identity, and Cultural Authority
57. Social Philosophy Today: Volume > 21
Jeremy Bendik-Keymer Courtrooms As Disabling Remembering Positions
58. Social Philosophy Today: Volume > 21
Johann A. Klaassen Models of Memory and the Logic of Domination
59. Social Philosophy Today: Volume > 21
Sue Campbell Response to Commentators
60. Social Philosophy Today: Volume > 21
Theresa Waynand Tobin The Non-Modularity of Moral Knowledge: Implications for the Universality of Human Rights
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Many contemporary human rights theorists argue that we can establish the normative universality of human rights despite extensive cultural and moral diversity by appealing to the notion of overlapping consensus. In this paper I argue that proposals to ground the universality of human rights in overlapping consensus on the list of rights are unsuccessful. I consider an example from Islamic comprehensive doctrine in order to demonstrate that apparent consensus on the list of rights may not in fact constitute meaningful agreement and may not be sufficient to ground the universality of human rights. I conclude with some general suggestions for establishing the universality of human rights. Instead of presuming the universality of human rights based on apparent overlapping consensus we need to construct universality through actual dialogue both within and between communities.