European Parliament Library

Ontology and oppression, race, gender, and social reality, Katharine Jenkins - hkb

The way society is organized means that we all get made into members of various types of people, such as judges, wives, or women. These 'human social kinds' may be brought into being by oppressive social arrangements, and people may suffer oppression in virtue of being made into a member of a certain human social kind; this much is obvious. In Ontology and Oppression, Katharine Jenkins goes further, arguing that we should pay attention to the ways in which the very fact of being made into a member of a certain human social kind can be oppressive. She supplies three conceptual tools needed to understand this phenomenon. The first tool is an analysis of this general form of wrong, termed 'ontic injustice'. The second tool is an account of 'ontic oppression', a kind of ontic injustice in which the wrong amounts to a form of oppression, in the sense of being structural and pervasive. The third tool is a pluralist account of race and gender kinds, according to which there is no single social kind that corresponds to a gender category such as 'woman', but rather, various social kinds, each of which is explanatory for different purposes. Jenkins argues that it would be a mistake to make the claim that race and gender kinds as such are ontically oppressive: some are, but others are not, and some are even conducive to emancipation. This analysis has benefits for anti-oppressive social movements, including efforts towards trans liberation. It enables us to understand the wrong that can be involved in the construction of race and gender kinds whilst also recognizing how people can reasonably value being members of these kinds and highlights the importance of working to change race and gender kinds for the better
Literary Form
non fiction
Physical Description
xi, 268 pages, 24 cm

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