Date of Degree

9-2015

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

M.A.

Program

Liberal Studies

Advisor

Stanley Aronowitz

Subject Categories

Philosophy | Political Science | Sociology

Keywords

de-colonial; liberalism; oppression; social ontology; subjectivity; western

Abstract

In this thesis I draw attention to the connections between Western liberalism, particularly exemplified by the idea of liberal freedom, and (in)visible modalities of oppression. In chapter 1, I examine how the philosophical basis of liberalism allows it to serve as a mediator of oppression. In chapter 2, through a genealogical analysis, I trace out the link between liberalism and political economy. Here I focus on the imbrication between (neo-)liberalism, capitalism, and the production of subjectivity. My analysis aims at revealing the specific form of subjectivity engendered under the sign of liberal freedom. In chapter 3, I take up post 9/11 liberal rights discourse and demonstrate the ways in which it commits violence materially, ideologically, and discursively, against particular internal and external populations. Here I tie the present day Western liberal project to histories of colonialism, racism, and patriarchy. In chapter 4, as against liberal methodology, I put forth certain alternative methodological suggestions that would allow us to better comprehend the dynamics of oppression and work towards mitigating hierarchical structures of power that inevitably frame both local and global contexts.

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