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Title: Dimensions of deprivation and freedom
Author: Zur-Szpiro, Eliana
Awarding Body: UCL (University College London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2019
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The thesis addresses the relationship between coercion and poverty. On a sociological level, people in poverty are often described as coerced by their circumstances: for example, when they have no option but to agree to unacceptable job conditions. However, current philosophical accounts of coercion are poorly equipped to explain why some proposals made to those in poverty are aptly conceived as coercive. These accounts assume that an offer is coercive only if, when and because it threatens to make a person worse off. Yet, a central type of case is when a person in conditions of poverty has no reasonable alternative but to accept a proposal which does make them better off, but also unduly submits their will to the will of another. The thesis argues that dominant accounts of coercion suffer from being overly individualistic and distributive. Instead, I take a relational and structural approach. The central definitional and normative feature of coercion is the subjection of one's will. This can occur, I claim, even without one's options being wrongfully restricted. Moreover, wrongful coercion does not happen solely through intentional individual action, but also because of structural factors. Finally, the wrong of poverty is not located merely in the effects of material deprivation of individuals, but also in the unequal relations it gives rise to: in particular, coercive relations. Engaging more closely with poverty puts pressure on our standard accounts of coercion. Furthermore, taking a relational perspective deepens both our understanding of poverty and of coercion.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available