Affective (self-) transformations: Empathy, neoliberalism and international development

Feminist Theory 13 (2):163-179 (2012)
  Copy   BIBTEX

Abstract

Affective self-transformation premised on empathy has been understood within feminist and anti-racist literatures as central to achieving social justice. Through juxtaposing debates about empathy within feminist and anti-racist theory with rhetorics of empathy in international development, and particularly writing about ‘immersions’, this article explores how the workings of empathy might be reconceptualised when relations of postcoloniality and neoliberalism are placed in the foreground. I argue that in the neoliberal economy in which the international aid apparatus operates, empathetic self-transformation can become commodified in ways that fix unequal affective subjects. Empathy may function here less to produce more intersubjective relations and ways of knowing than it does to augment the moral and affective capacities of development professionals. Yet, I suggest, it is in the ambivalences, tensions and contradictions of both emotion and neoliberalism that spaces for thinking and feeling transnational encounters differently might be cultivated.

Links

PhilArchive



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 91,202

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

Does Affective Empathy Require Perspective-Taking or Affective Matching?David Schwan - 2019 - American Philosophical Quarterly 56 (3):277-287.
In Defense of the Moral Significance of Empathy.Aaron Simmons - 2014 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 17 (1):97-111.
Relational Empathy.Mark Fagiano - 2019 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 27 (2):162-179.
Social bonds and the nature of empathy.Douglas F. Watt - 2005 - Journal of Consciousness Studies 12 (8-10):8-10.
Should physicians be empathetic? Rethinking clinical empathy.David Schwan - 2018 - Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 39 (5):347-360.
The Nature of Empathy.Shannon Spaulding, Hannah Read & Rita Svetlova - 2022 - In Felipe De Brigard & Walter Sinnott-Armstrong (eds.), Philosophy of Neuroscience. MIT Press. pp. 49-77.

Analytics

Added to PP
2020-11-25

Downloads
14 (#930,021)

6 months
8 (#283,518)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?