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An Ethics of Dissensus: Postmodernity, Feminism, and the Politics of Radical Democracy Hardcover – June 1, 2002
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"Original, carefully argued, and beautifully written, this book is one of the first sustained attempts to think through the relationship between feminist ethics and feminist politics. Ziarek's nuanced readings of central figures in current debates in postmodern ethics provide not only new ways of interpreting their work but also new directions for ethical theory." (Kelly Oliver)
"Ziarek has produced one of the most sensitive, thoughtful, original, and quietly provocative texts I know in the broad areas of contemporary philosophy and sexual and racial politics. . . . Trained in comparative literature and literary studies, she is equally at home in the most difficult and contentious of philosophical texts." (Elizabeth Grosz, State University of New York Buffalo)
"An Ethics of Dissensus brings together the work of some of the most influential poststructuralist and postmodernist theorists to develop a link between their models of the fragmented subject and ethics of alterity (that values radical difference) and their implications for the political and ethical inetractions among internally diverse and mobile groups in democratic societies. This book should prove particularly illuminating to literary critics and philosophers who are interested in seeing how postmodern ethics can be transformed to suit the needs of feminist theory and politics." (Comparative Literature)
From the Inside Flap
We cannot address such questions, Ziarek argues, without putting into dialogue discourses that have hitherto been segregated: postmodern ethics, feminism, race theory, and the idea of radical democracy. Addressing a constellation of diverse thinkers—including Emmanuel Levinas, Patricia Williams, Jean-François Lyotard, Michel Foucault, Frantz Fanon, Julia Kristeva, and Luce Irigaray—the author proposes a new conception of ethics, an ethics of dissensus that rethinks the relation between freedom and obligation in a double context of embodiment and antagonism.
As the unavoidable yet productive dissonance among antagonism, freedom, and obligation suggests, the ethics of dissensus seeks not to transcend politics but to articulate the difficult role of responsibility and freedom in democratic struggles against racist and sexist oppression. Opposing the conservative political work of privatized moral discourse that reduces social antagonism to the apolitical experience of good and evil, the ethics of dissensus calls into question not only the depoliticized subject of ethics but also the disembodied notions of citizenship, rights, and democratic community.
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