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Chapter

Cover Politics

12. Votes, Elections, Legislatures, and Legislators  

This chapter explores the interrelationships among votes, elections, legislatures, and legislators in the context of politics. It first considers the two basic paradoxes of voting before discussing elections and their outcomes, which tend to have different virtues: stronger government versus more representative government. It then describes the functions of legislatures as well as measures for establishing quotas to increase gender equality in legislative recruitment. It also introduces a classification of legislatures based upon their capability to stand up to the executive branch of government before concluding with an analysis of the internal structure of legislatures as well as the backgrounds of members of parliament in various countries, focusing in particular on the criticism that lawmakers constitute a ‘political class’.

Chapter

Cover The Globalization of World Politics

25. Global health  

Sophie Harman

This chapter looks at public health on a global scale and examines how crucial this topic has become since the recent Covid-19 pandemic. Global political interest in pandemics, the chapter argues, is about much more than just the threat to health and lives. It is also about the knock-on impact health emergencies, such as the recent pandemic, have on economics and society including social welfare and education, but also socio-economic, gender, and racial equality. The chapter starts with an examination of how health became a global issue with reference in particular to the relationship between war and disease. In addition to this, health became a global issues as a result of the growth in world trade and the resultant economic globalization. Two case studies are presented in this chapter. The first consider the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1308 and the second delves into the relationship between Covid-19 vaccinations and intellectual property rights.

Chapter

Cover Issues in Political Theory

6. Equality and social justice  

Jonathan Wolff

This chapter addresses equality and social justice. In the 1980s and 1990s, the goal of social justice was challenged both on political and philosophical grounds and was largely supplanted by an emphasis on economic growth and individual responsibility. Although still given little emphasis in the United States, considerations of social justice came back onto the political agenda in the United Kingdom following the election of the new Labour government in 1997. To rehabilitate social justice, it was necessary to decouple it from traditional socialist ideas of common ownership of the means of production. Key debates on social justice concern theories of equality, priority, and sufficiency, and how inequality should be defined and measured. Of particular concern has been the place of personal responsibility for disadvantages causing inequalities. The chapter then considers equality of opportunity and social relations.

Chapter

Cover Political Thinkers

5. Aristotle  

Tony Burns

This chapter examines the argument of Aristotle's Politics in relation to the theory of justice that he articulates in his Nicomachean Ethics. It first provides a biography of Aristotle before discussing his view of human nature, the starting point for understanding his views on both ethics and politics. In particular, it considers what Aristotle means when he describes man as a ‘social and political animal’ (zoon politikon). It goes on to explore the theory of justice developed in Aristotle's Ethics, focusing on the notions of proportional and arithmetical equality. It also analyses the two areas of social life in which the concept of justice has a practical application: the spheres of rectificatory and distributive justice. The chapter concludes with an assessment of the continuing relevance of Aristotle for political philosophy today, especially for the debate between John Rawls and his communitarian critics.

Chapter

Cover Contemporary Political Philosophy

3. Liberal Equality  

This chapter examines the notion of liberal equality by considering John Rawls’s alternative to utilitarianism. In his A Theory of Justice, Rawls complains that political theory was caught between two extremes: utilitarianism on the one side, and what he calls ‘intuitionism’ on the other. The chapter presents Rawls’s ideas, first by discussing the two arguments he gives for his answer to the question of justice: the intuitive equality of opportunity argument and the social contract argument. It also analyses Ronald Dworkin’s views on equality of resources, focusing on his theory that involves the use of auctions, insurance schemes, free markets, and taxation. Finally, it explores the politics of liberal equality, arguing that liberals need to think seriously about adopting more radical politics.

Chapter

Cover Issues in Political Theory

2. Liberty  

Ian Carter

This chapter examines the concept of liberty. There are different rival interpretations of liberty. These interpretations can be discussed in terms of a well-known distinction: that between negative and positive liberty. Negative liberty is the absence of something: normally, the absence of external obstacles imposed by other human agents. Positive liberty is the presence of something: the exercise of our choice-making capacities in ways that put us in control of our own lives. Much of the recent literature on liberty has focused on a new challenge to these conceptions of liberty. The challenge comes from thinkers inspired by the neo-roman or republican idea of liberty as the antithesis of slavery. Republicans define liberty as the absence of domination. Meanwhile, some libertarians, who hold that liberty is best realized through the protection of private property and contract, have argued that liberty is always limited by the pursuit of economic equality.

Chapter

Cover Introduction to Politics

9. Political Culture and Non-Western Political Ideas  

Peter Ferdinand

This chapter begins by outlining the importance of poltical culture in structuring, but not determining, the behaviour of actors within individual political systems. It illustrates the persistence of its impact with the failure of Mao Zedong to eliminate traditional Chinese ways of thinking and create a wholly new political culture in the Cultural Revolution. On the other hand it cites fluctuations in Russian political culture over centuries to show that the perceived content of a particular political culture can be fundamentally contested and malleable, so that it does evolve. And it notes the recent claims of political leaders in Russia, China and India, amongst others, that their nations’ historical achievements raise them to the status of ‘civilization states’. One feature of a nation’s political culture is the recurring trends of issues and preoccupations in political thinking there. Then it goes on to examine issues in thinking in non-Western countries, that structure political attitudes and political behaviour differently from the West. It begins by looking at traditional notions of legitimate political authority in other regions of the world, particularly Asia, that preceded the arrival of Western colonialists. These often assumed more ‘organic’ and more segmented communities than would be associated with Western individualist ones influenced by the legacy of the French revolution. Then it considers more recent non-Western political thinking.

Chapter

Cover Democratization

5. Long Waves and Conjunctures of Democratization  

Dirk Berg-Schlosser

This chapter focuses on the history of democratization since the late eighteenth century. It introduces the concepts of ‘waves’ (trends) and ‘conjunctures’ (briefer turmoils) and delineates the major developments in this respect. In this way, the major long-term and short-term factors leading to the emergence and breakdowns of democracies are also highlighted. The first long wave occurred during the period 1776–1914, followed by the first positive conjuncture in 1918–19, the second long wave (with some intermittent turbulences) in 1945–88, and the latest conjuncture in 1989–90. The chapter identifies the main ingredients to democratization throughout history, namely: republicanism, representation, and political equality. It concludes by considering some of the current perspectives and dangers for the future of democracy.

Chapter

Cover Human Rights

Feminist Approaches to Human Rights  

Laura Parisi

This chapter tackles feminist approaches to human rights. It starts with how contemporary feminism criticized liberalism on the conception of formal legal equality in international human rights laws being derived from the goal of dismantling hierarchies. Contemporary views on women's rights revolve around the issues of globalization, democracy, culture, sexual orientation, and gender identity. The chapter then expounds on the evolution of the international women's human rights discourse and frameworks. It also discusses the establishment of the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), which addressed all forms of discrimination against women by the principle of structural indivisibility.

Chapter

Cover European Integration Theory

9. European Integration and Gender  

Yvonne Galligan

This chapter analyses theories of European integration through a gender lens. It points to the diversity of perspectives in gender scholarship on European integration, and draws on these different points of view to examine other theoretical approaches. It assumes that gender is a basic organising principle of the social world, and therefore is an integral aspect of European integration. The chapter discusses gender theory and its contribution to the study of European integration. It then goes on to interrogate other European integration theories - liberal intergovernmentalism, neofunctionalism, and social constructivism – examining the nature of gendered power that they emphasize and evaluating the extent to which they are open to incorporating a gender-informed perspective. The chapter then analyses the integrationist effect of the European economic crisis on gender equality. This discussion reveals the marginalization of gender equality, and gender mainstreaming, as the neo-liberal response to the economic crisis created new gender inequalities and perpetuated old patterns of gender hierarchy.

Chapter

Cover Contemporary Political Philosophy

1. Introduction  

This edition provides an introduction to the major schools of thought that dominate contemporary debates in political philosophy. The focus is on theories which have attracted a certain allegiance, and which offer a more or less comprehensive vision of the ideals of politics. The text examines the notion, advanced by Ronald Dworkin, that every plausible political theory has the same ultimate value, which is equality. It considers another, more abstract and more fundamental, idea of equality in political theory — namely, the idea of treating people ‘as equals’. It also explores what it might mean for libertarianism to have freedom as its foundational value, or for utilitarianism to have utility as its foundational value. Finally, it analyses the relationship between moral and political philosophy and argues that the ultimate test of a theory of justice is that it should be concordant with, and help illuminate, our convictions of justice.

Chapter

Cover Introducing Political Philosophy

6. Schools and Equality of Opportunity  

William Abel, Elizabeth Kahn, Tom Parr, and Andrew Walton

This chapter addresses the value of equality of opportunity and assesses its implication for the design of the school system, arguing for the radical conclusion that the state should prohibit elite private schools. It begins by outlining how elite private schools create inequalities in prospects between children, and develops an account of why this is morally problematic. A challenge to the chapter’s argument comes from those who reject equality of opportunity in favour of educational adequacy. The chapter then considers the possibility that it is wrong for the state to prohibit elite private schools because this interferes too much in family life. It offers a framework for assessing which choices should be protected on these grounds, and argues that the choice to send one’s child to an elite private school does not fall in this set.

Chapter

Cover Introducing Political Philosophy

8. Parental Leave and Gender Equality  

William Abel, Elizabeth Kahn, Tom Parr, and Andrew Walton

This chapter defends the radical view that the state should legally require all parents to take a substantial period of parental leave following the birth or adoption of a child. Though extreme, this strikes the right balance between advancing gender equality and respecting other considerations relating to the family. The chapter begins by identifying the various ways in which the current distribution of paid employment and household work is gendered, showing how women and men tend to play different roles in these domains. It then explains how different kinds of parental leave schemes can challenge the gendered division of labour, criticizing those that are likely to reproduce the current pattern of paid employment and household work. The chapter argues for schemes that encourage a more equal division of labour between women and men. It also discusses the implications of the chapter’s conclusions for the design of parental leave schemes and for the broader landscape in which these policies are nested.

Chapter

Cover Introduction to Politics

11. Votes, Elections, Legislatures, and Legislators  

Peter Ferdinand

This chapter examines some of the central issues associated with voting and electoral systems, along with the functions of legislatures. It begins by discussing the two paradoxes of voting. First, the huge number of citizens in any modern state means that no individual’s vote is likely to make the difference between two or more choices, making it potentially ‘irrational’ for any individual to bother to vote at all. Yet votes make democracy possible. The second voting paradox concerns the difficulty of relying upon votes to determine the objective preferences of the public. The chapter proceeds by considering measures that aim to establish quotas to increase gender equality in legislative recruitment. It also describes different types of legislatures and the internal structure of legislatures. Finally, it analyses trends in the backgrounds of legislators in various countries, specifically focusing upon the criticism that they constitute a ‘political class’.

Chapter

Cover Political Ideologies

11. Multiculturalism  

Paul Wetherly

This chapter examines the evolution of cultural diversity, a concept of multiculturalism, as an ideology. Aside from cultural diversity, multiculturalism has three other inter-related concepts or values: identity, community, and citizenship and equality. The chapter first considers the link between migration and cultural diversity before discussing the routes to cultural diversity within modern states, especially immigration into European societies in the period since the Second World War. It then explores the relationship between the national and global dimensions of cultural diversity as well as the attitudes of other ideological perspectives, such as liberalism, socialism, conservatism, nationalism, and feminism, to cultural diversity. It also asks whether multiculturalism is an ideology in its own right and how multiculturalist ideology has been expressed in political movements and shaped government policies. Finally, it assesses the nature of, and reasons for, the recent backlash against multiculturalism in European societies.

Chapter

Cover Introduction to Politics

11. Votes, Elections, Legislatures, and Legislators  

Peter Ferdinand

This chapter examines some of the central issues associated with voting and electoral systems, along with the functions of legislatures. It begins by discussing the two paradoxes of voting. First, the huge number of citizens in any modern state means that no individual’s vote is likely to make the difference between two or more choices, making it potentially ‘irrational’ for any individual to bother to vote at all. Yet votes make democracy possible. The second voting paradox concerns the difficulty of relying upon votes to determine the objective preferences of the public. The chapter proceeds by considering measures that aim to establish quotas to increase gender equality in legislative recruitment. It also describes different types of legislatures and the internal structure of legislatures. Finally, it analyses trends in the backgrounds of legislators in various countries, specifically focusing upon the criticism that they constitute a ‘political class’.

Chapter

Cover Rethinking Political Thinkers

2. Socrates, Plato, and Sojourner Truth  

Patrizia Longo

This chapter examines the concepts of knowledge, education, and politics in the teachings of Socrates, Plato, and Sojourner Truth through a gender and racial lens. Race, gender, and class are often factors of exclusion in philosophy, and they are interrelated: philosophical justifications for the superiority of one group over another have been influenced by and have in turn reinforced racist, sexist, and classist biases. Contrary to Socrates and Plato, Truth maintained that equality is foundational to justice. In her speeches, she addressed the need for racial and sexual equality, for the franchise for Black people and women. Truth’s critique of racism, sexism, and classism reverberates today in societies that may have eliminated legal discrimination against women and minorities but still maintain it de facto.

Chapter

Cover Rethinking Political Thinkers

6. Baruch Spinoza  

Caroline Williams

This chapter focuses on the major works of Baruch Spinoza as they impact upon politics, particularly the posthumously published Ethics (1677). This broadly philosophical work, composed over fifteen years, opens up many important ideas that are further developed in Spinoza’s two explicitly political works, Theologico-Political Treatise (1670) and the unfinished Political Treatise. The chapter explores some of the key ideas and concepts to be found in Ethics, including the concepts of nature, individuality, mind and body, imagination, and freedom. It then deepens the political ground of these concepts by addressing power and democracy. The chapter also advances Spinoza’s idea of the multitude and considers some of the political exclusions present in his political philosophy. While one may find limits in the perception of political equality, gender, and race in his works, Spinoza’s analysis of the relationship between the human condition and the natural world remains deeply prescient for many radical political thinkers reflecting on such themes today.

Chapter

Cover Rethinking Political Thinkers

7. John Locke  

Hagar Kotef

This chapter discusses John Locke’s theory of the social contract, which became one of the primary frameworks of political thought in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. It focuses on one of his books, The Second Treatise of Government, first published in 1689. Since Locke sees humans as essentially rational beings, he believes that even without a ‘power to keep them all in awe’, humans could live in relative peace with each other, form social lives, and regulate themselves according to the Laws of Nature. While seemingly presenting a universal individual, Locke’s social contract theory in fact contrives only specific individuals as the contracting agents: propertied, European (if not English) men. The chapter situates Locke’s contract within a global historical context by considering the voices that have been excluded from or marginalized within this story. Through these different figures—the servant (wage labourer), the wife, the Indigenous, and the slave—we see a series of tensions between formal equality and material, racial, and gender inequalities.

Book

Cover Rethinking Political Thinkers

Edited by Manjeet Ramgotra and Simon Choat

Rethinking Political Thinkers is composed of six Parts. Part I looks at the boundaries of the political. This Part considers the view of philosophers, such as Plato, Socrates, Sojourner, Aristotle, bell hooks, and Kautilya. Part II discusses social contract theory and criticisms of the theory. The text then turns to liberal modernity and colonial domination in Part III. Part IV covers freedom and revolution and Part V looks at inclusion and equality. Part VI considers violence, power, and resistance. The text then moves on to cover the liberal self and Black consciousness. Part VIII is about sex and sexuality, with a chapter on Michel Foucault among others. The final chapter examines the environment, considering it in both the human and non-human contexts.