Social perspectives and symbolic domination: women's political presence, in Iris Marion Young and Pierre Bourdieu

This article looks at women's political participation and presence within political power. In this regard, we discuss the tension between the emancipatory potential offered by incorporation of multiple perspectives into political debate and the reproductive action of the field. Starting from a look at causes that, in our view, may be responsible for the relative absence of women in decision-making circles and for their alleged "lack of interest" in politics, we discuss perspectives that are, in one way or another, geared toward solving (improving) this situation. The article is organized into three sections. In the first, we defend the position that a more promising way to justify the need for women's presence is offered by understanding that spaces of deliberation should house a plurality of relevant social perspectives - a concept that can be most clearly associated with the work of the U.S. political theoretician, Iris Marion Young. In the second section, we discuss some of the problems contained within this concept, most particularly, a certain naiveté present in the ideal that derives from it: the creation of a pluralist discussion and decision-making spaces resulting from electoral quotas. We use the notion of "field", taken from Pierre Bourdieu's work, in order to cleanse Young's ideas of such naiveté. Within the third section, we introduce an additional element: Nancy Fraser's distinction between "affirmative" and "transforming" policies. As preliminary conclusions, we end with an evaluation of the limitations and potentials of a politics based on the defense of increased presence of "social perspectives".

social perspectives; political field; political representation; Iris Marion Young; Pierre Bourdieu


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