This book provides a critical account of contemporary egalitarian theories. It challenges their focus on issues of choice and personal responsibility, and questions their ability to address the major inequalities that characterise the contemporary world, before presenting an alternative vision of egalitarian politics based on the challenge of a genuinely inclusive form of citizenship. This vision is defended through a critical discussion of four key issues in political theory: the recognition/redistribution debate, the connection between equality and responsibility, the ideal of equal opportunities, and the significance of ‘globalisation’ for the politics of equal citizenship. The book provides a critical account of the most important contemporary egalitarian theories, including the work of John Rawls, Ronald Dworkin and the luck egalitarians, Anne Phillips, Iris Young and Nancy Fraser. It also relates these theories to contemporary political (and especially citizenship) practice, assessing them in relation to the impact of neoliberalism on contemporary welfare states, and the shift from ‘social’ to ‘active’ forms of citizenship.
Elizabeth Gaskell used Gothic as a symbolic language to explore the dark side of Unitarian thought. She explores, in rationalist terms, evils origins, effects, and remedy, using Gothic tropes as metaphors for humanly created misery. Gaskell locates the roots of ‘evil’ in an unenlightened social order – in ‘The Crooked Branch’ erroneous parenting, and in ‘The Poor Clare’ wider social structures, both distorted by the ideology of privilege. ‘The Poor Clare’ also engages with the tension between moral determinism and personal responsibility, and defends a Unitarian salvation. This tale also demonstrates Gaskell‘s views on aspects of Roman Catholicism.
‘American exceptionalism’ (Levmore,
Non-resident fathers and the child support enforcement regime
When President Bill Clinton promised to ‘end welfare as we know it’ with
the introduction of the PersonalResponsibility and Work Opportunity
Reconciliation Act (PRWORA) of 1996, he stressed that child support payments from non-resident fathers were a central plank of American welfare
reforms. Specifically, President Clinton said that ‘if every parent paid the child
support they should … we could move 800,000 women and children off welfare
Self-help books in the early decades of the twentieth century
indicated just how broad the parameters of popular conceptions of nerves and nervousness were for authors and sufferers alike. Popular understanding of nerves also revealed the privileging of certain explanations, symptoms and treatments as well as the contemporary gender and class assumptions that informed interpretations of causality and proposed remedies. Self-help books reveal how contemporary notions of health and well-being, stoicism and personalresponsibility underpinned the way nervous suffering was understood. They highlight concepts such as self
Unemployment Insurance has been
renamed Employment Insurance; and in the USA the Social Security Act has
been replaced by the PersonalResponsibility Act), but it is also often accompa-
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Dworkin on the insurance market
nied by ‘authoritarianism about the social obligations of welfare claimants’
(Jordan 1996: 12).
Despite the fact that this process has been justified through the language of
choice, control and individual autonomy, the increasing focus on the governance of risks has ensured that ‘within a regime of liberal governance, insurance
is one of the greatest
making had just started to have an effect on the changes in health-care
delivery and the increasing role of personalresponsibility that was calculated
into the public's ideas on how to protect one's own health and that of the
family. All of these elements contributed to an explosive assemblage, and the
MMR controversy was the public arena in which all of these elements were played
out. As Speers and Lewis put it, ‘The Blair family
rigid structures were being renegotiated. As the horarium which regulated the religious day was altered, the permission-centred model of religious life shifted to one that allowed for personalresponsibility. The relational nature of these shifts resulted in tensions, and women religious self-identified and identified others as generational cohorts pitting ‘old’ against ‘young’. 27 The second section uses this generational language to tease out the nature of the shifting relationships: it is through how sisters and nuns spoke about each other that we learn about
established by invoking various rhetorical
devices and discourses.
One such aspect of Thatcher’s attempts at establishing a shared identity with her
audience entailed conveying a belief in ‘family values’, such as hard work, individual liberty, personalresponsibility, property ownership, self-reliance, sobriety and
thrift, all of which were depicted as the timeless values shared by the majority of
ordinary British people, but especially the (lower) middle class and socially mobile
working class, but which were denigrated and undermined by left-wing intellectuals
Chapter 9 concludes this study by examining the issues of ethics and the subject. Drawing on writing on normative moral philosophy in relation to Foucault, the chapter introduces and critically examines the themes of personal responsibility, integrity, authenticity, and ethical comportment, drawing especially on the work of Judith Butler. It seeks to ascertain how the individual acts morally and engages ethically in a complex world and what ethical engagement, ethical motivation, and ethical commitment looks like from a Foucauldian point of view.
This chapter returns to the topic of monomania. Hester Dethridge develops homicidal urges after murdering her abusive husband. Collins emphatically draws attention to the circumstances which lead to Hester’s mental condition in order to fulfil the main purpose of the novel, highlighting the dangers of the British marriage laws which disadvantage women. The novel’s secondary purpose is the disparagement of what Collins perceived as a harmful national obsession with physical prowess. The upper-class villain, Geoffrey Delamayn, has been raised to prize his physicality over intellectual and moral development, and as a result he is little more than a bestial thug. The final part of the chapter shows how Collins makes use of the strange and improbable coincidences that are a staple of sensation fiction. Rather than playing down such moments, Collins emphasises ‘the capricious mercy of Chance’ and uses it as a way of revealing the influence of unforeseen circumstances on his characters and their development. Overall this chapter shows that Collins depicts human beings with little capacity for agency, personal responsibility or self-determinism; seeming acts of free will are really the result of external influences (social, legal, educational and circumstantial), and can only ever be short-sighted.