Volume 61, Issue 4, Fall 2017
Capitalism and the Conflict over Universality
A Feminist Perspective
In this paper I adopt Étienne Balibar’s distinction between three forms of universality—“universality as reality,” “fictive universality,” and “ideal universality”—in order to retrieve universalism for feminist politics. The paper articulates a proposal for the feminist adoption of a specific notion of universality, which I call political insurgent universality. This notion is not based on a definition of human essence or of women's nature. It is rather rooted in the “real universality” historically created by capitalism, that is, in the fact that capitalism has generated a world in which people are interdependent and in which capitalist accumulation poses objective universal constraints on social reproduction.