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The Liberal Political Tradition - Term Paper Example

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This work called "The Liberal Political Tradition" describes liberal individualism, this ideology, the idea of separation of public and private life, the contemporary dominant philosophy of neo-Liberalism. The author outlines patterns of gender inequality, contemporary understandings of gender relations, and sexual division…
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The Liberal Political Tradition
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Download file to see previous pages This Liberal individualism however also adheres to the idea of separation of public and private life, with an innate, inherent and inbuilt, idealization and ‘sentimentalization’ of family life independent of control by the wider society. ‘These meanings suffuse the defining concepts of the person and society’ and are placed at ‘the heart of Liberalism’ (Shaver.1996). Liberalism thus is ‘individualist, giving the person primacy over the social group; it is egalitarian, regarding all persons having similar moral status; it is universalistic, valuing the moral unity of human species above particularities of association and culture; and it is meliorist in regarding all social institutions and political arrangements as capable of human improvements’(Gray. 1995: xii). The modern welfare state with its social protection policies emerged out of paternalistic and conservative ‘poor laws’, dominated state. This ‘liberal break’ occurred at the turn of the last century. The liberal break had the key beliefs in the value of individual rights, ‘the image of society as rooted in market and contract, and the role of the state as the guardian of the market and fair exchange’ (Shaver.1996). The liberal state ‘maintained the commodity status of labor, while devising ways to accommodate social protection, without transgressing the market’ (Esping-Andersen. 1990; pp.41-4), thereby strengthening the Laisaize Fare credentials.
The Feminists see and criticize the inherent paradox contained within the liberal political philosophy. The separation of private and public central to the liberal thought is exclusive towards the gender concerns. The public and private are inextricably connected and interwoven. This separation obscures and washes over the fundamental source of inequality and oppression existing within the family unit due to the unequal power relationships between sexes. Liberal individualism only renders recognition to a rational bounded self, expressed through interaction of the state and society at their mutual interface. It, however ‘denies recognition to the interdependencies and social connectedness of human society that are relatively more important in the lives of women than men’ (Graham.1983; Hartsock. 1983). Therefore by the same token, the claim of Liberalism being Universal is also based on a fallacy because it only chooses to see the public interaction of the male-dominated public-private interface (Gilligan.1982). ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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