2016 International Social Philosophy Conference Abstract

“I’m With Her: Solidarity as the Basis of a Feminist Theory of Global Democracy,”:

Globalization has had, and will continue to have, twin effects on political practice. First, it serves to undermine the traditional bases of normative collectivity on which political authorization and legitimacy are based—that is, it diminishes the possibility for nationalism and nationalist identities to serves as the basis for political will formation. Second, it serves to demand a greater extra-national accountability—that is, it creates the need for global, or at the very least transnational, political institutions. The challenge that this poses for democratic political practice is especially acute. The demos is both no longer and not yet.

This paper argues that a theory of global democracy requires political solidarity as its basis. I follow Sally Scholz, Carol Gould, and Nancy Fraser in arguing that solidarity ought to form the fundamental normative basis of a feminist theory of global democracy. Solidarity, here, refers to a process of inclusion within the bounds of political will formation and arena of contestation. The loss of traditional forms of community and commonality (that served as the customary basis for developing a demos) requires new forms of building commonality in service of the demos—this new form, I argue, is solidarity. Understanding solidarity as a process has advantages over understanding solidarity as either a relation or as a motivation for action. Conceived as a process of inclusion, solidarity as the basis for global democracy is capable of including many who, under liberal theories of democracy based on liberty and equality, find themselves alienated from the democratic process. This has the further benefit of developing a global democratic process that is aimed chiefly at addressing issues of power such as oppression, domination, and subjugation. As such, conceiving of solidarity as process provides the initial structure for a feminist theory of global democracy—as it is able to be inclusive of positions in both Western and Third-World feminisms in a way that a liberal theory of global democracy is not.

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