Beyond Sovereignty and Particularism: for a Truly Universalist Feminism
Keywords:feminism, universalism, particularism, egalitarianism, intersectionality, sovereignty, autonomy
Intersectional understandings of identities as traversed by diverse forms of oppression have brought to light also the ways commitments to contesting these forms of oppression might come into conflict. A salient form of conflicting intersectionality is the apparent conflict between feminist and anti-racist or anti-colonial commitments today. By offering a materialist rereading of Simone de Beauvoir’s understanding of oppression and emancipation against her postcolonial critics, I argue that instead of a particularistic one, a universalist and egalitarian account of conflicting intersectionality is required today – an account which is however fully aware of the historical nature of the universal itself. Such an account may allow us to keep condemning all forms of oppression, with Beauvoir’s words, as an “absolute evil”.
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