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Young and Beauvoir.doc

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McGill University
PHIL 242
Zoli Filotas

PHIL 242 - “Five Faces of Oppression” - Iris Marion Young Individuals and Groups - social ontology - ontology = the study of being - social ontology concerns what things exist in the social world - ontology of oppression - Frye argues that it’s a property held by sets of actions and practices and the relationships between them - Young has a similar point of view - sexism in a legal context is linked to discrimination, but discrimination is individualistic - Young thinks that the way we think about groups is too shallow (race, age, etc.) - other ways of looking at groups: - aggregate: a bunch of individuals considered together - association: a consciously-formed group of people, joined or left on purpose - in both cases, you need to know about the individuals to understand the group, but you don’t need to know about the group to understand the individuals - group membership is an essential part of being, it shapes who an individual is - the existence of groups is a good thing and we should try to preserve groups but get rid of the oppression Labour - Young accepts the ideas of Marx - labour: - means of producing value and meeting human needs - means of realizing human potential and creativity - contrast with what Fraser calls “the ‘means of interpretation and communication’” - methods for making sense of information and coordinating our approaches to it - means of interpretation and communication can include movies, news articles, books, etc. - this varies from culture to culture - some of this may be oppressive - Marx says that we all have to work to make value out of things (whatever it may be) - that labour is one of the most important human activities - that in principle is one of most crucial sources of well-being - that the differences between societies often boil down to the way labour is organized - 1. Who benefits from labour? Exploitation - capitalist exploitation: factory owners pay workers just enough to meet their needs, and take the rest of the value created by the workers for themselves - e.g. that extend beyond jobs and money: - where women provide emotional care and support to men and children, and receive little in return - where sexual standards are arranged primarily to provide pleasure for men - 2. Who can and can’t participate in labour? Marginalization - a marginalized person is someone who cannot or will not be employed by labour markets - no work = no pay - not being able to work may be worse than not getting paid because it’s important to work and gain skills/realize potentiality - not just about getting jobs, could be any social participation (e.g. right to vote taken away from mentally disabled people and children) - Young says we should avoid oppressing dependent people by valuing the activities of people who may not count as independent - 3. How do kinds of labour affect our identities? Powerlessness - powerlessness people have “little or no work autonomy, exercise little creativity, or judgment in their work...” - some jobs that aren’t as important
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