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Title: Struggling for subjectivity : recognition, gender and the politics of identity
Author: McQueen, Paddy Michael
Awarding Body: Queen's University Belfast
Current Institution: Queen's University Belfast
Date of Award: 2013
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This thesis explores the philosophy and politics of recognition. Specifically, it examines the connections between identity, feminism and recognition politics. The thesis draws on feminist and post-structuralist theories of the subject to challenge contemporary models of recognition, especially as formulated by Axel Honneth and Charles Taylor. Consequently, the overarching aim of the thesis is threefold: (I) to establish an appropriate model of the subject; Cll) to identify the most promising form of contemporary feminism; and (Ill) to develop a distinctive understanding of recognition which can do justice to the insights of this form of feminism, thus producing a critical perspective on existing political theories of recognition. To this end, the thesis advocates a feminist politics inspired by the work of ludith Butler and Michel Foucault, and demonstrates how their work can be used to reveal fundamental problems for many existing theories of recognition. In particular, the thesis examines the ways in which recognition is bound up with normalising and exc1usionary processes connected to subject-formation and social identities. This is placed alongside the positive aspects associated with recognition, such as its ability to foster self and social acceptance, in order to produce a more complex and ambivalent account of recognition than, one finds in much of the existing recognition literature. The ambivalence of recognition is further demonstrated through an exploration of transgender politics, with a focus on how gender identities are regulated and normalised by institutional and social practices. These reflections are brought together through a discussion of what makes for a "liveable life". The thesis examines how recognition, feminism and theories of the subject contribute to how we understand a liveable life, and the ways in which feminist politics can help make more lives liveable.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available