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Title: Conceptualising identity for ourselves : political and feminist theories of autonomy
Authors: Hague, Ros
Award date: 2007
Presented at: University of Leicester
Abstract: There has been much academic work on autonomy and on identity in both political theory and feminist theory. Although this work provides valuable insights, there is arguably less theory that considers both. In part, this is the result of the predominance of a particular liberal position on autonomy depicting an isolated individual. Both communitarians and feminists seek to correct this and argue for a different view of autonomy that takes into account the situated self, but there is little discussion of the identity of this self. Also, feminist theory on identity has mostly been concerned with exposing the extent to which identity is tainted by power and by patriarchy. Inevitably there is little discussion of autonomy. These theorists seek to show the lengths to which autonomy, as a means of liberation, is an illusion. However, this thesis seeks to pursue a different approach. It combines some of the issues raised by feminist theory and contemporary political theory around questions of identity and autonomy with the application of the history of political thought to these questions. The concept of autonomy and identity constructed here hopes to go some way to avoiding the imposition of rigid identities and instead suggests that identity is better understood as changing, multiple, but also something we need to take control of ourselves. In order to support this version of identity there needs to be a concept of autonomy which denotes self-direction to control our identity. As well as control this thesis puts forward a notion of autonomy as a process which means that we have degrees of autonomy, it uses the notion of recognition, it considers the impact of a 'masculine' approach to autonomy and it emphasises autonomy as dynamic.
Type: Thesis
Level: Doctoral
Qualification: PhD
Rights: Copyright © the author. All rights reserved.
Appears in Collections:Theses, Dept. of Politics and International Relations
Leicester Theses

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