Personal Autonomy, Social Identity, and Oppressive Social Contexts

Hypatia 32 (2):312-328 (2017)
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Attempts to articulate the ways in which membership in socially subordinated social identities can impede one's autonomy have largely unfolded as part of the debate between different types of internalist theories in relation to the problem of internalized oppression. The different internalist positions, however, employ a damage model for understanding the role of social subordination in limiting autonomy. I argue that we need an externalist condition in order to capture the ways in which membership in a socially subordinated identity can constrain one's autonomy, even if one is undamaged in one's autonomy competencies and self-reflexive attitudes. I argue that living among those practically empowered to harass, to engage in racial profiling, and to treat as expendable is incompatible with a freedom-condition required for unconstrained global self-determination.



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Rebekah Johnston
Wilfrid Laurier University

Citations of this work

Feminist Perspectives on Autonomy.Natalie Stoljar - forthcoming - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Astell, friendship, and relational autonomy.Allauren Samantha Forbes - 2020 - European Journal of Philosophy 29 (2):487-503.
Relational approaches to personal autonomy.Ji-Young Lee - 2023 - Philosophy Compass 18 (5):e12916.

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