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Collapsing the universal : towards a framework for understanding the politics of difference in liberal democratic states

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Collapsing the universal : towards a framework for understanding the politics of difference in liberal democratic states

Field, Ann-Marie (1997) Collapsing the universal : towards a framework for understanding the politics of difference in liberal democratic states. Masters thesis, Concordia University.

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Abstract

The main focus of this research is to determine how liberal-democratic states can best address issues of substantive equality and social justice in a context of difference. This essay engages in a critical understanding of the link between difference, citizenship, public policy and the state. It explores whether the state is capable of acknowledging "difference". Concluding that the state treats individuals identically, it is suggested that liberal democratic states may be a key component in the marginalization of individuals differing from the norm. Three theoretical reconceptualizations of the state are explored. All three models are attempts to imagine a state capable of recognizing differences and, therefore, offering all of its citizens a sense of inclusion in the polity. This is followed by a discussion on violence, as an extreme example of the marginalization of individuals with particularistic identities. One should conclude from the presented understanding of violence that the state itself is an agent of violence against individuals differing from the norm, for the state allows violence against the Other to continue unchecked, and in certain instances promotes it. The objective of this theoretical endeavor is two fold. First, it will seek to understand how the state itself is an agent for the marginalization of individuals with particularistic identities and of violence against the Other. Secondly, it will suggest possible avenues for further research on solutions towards breaking this cycle of exclusion and violence. The urgency for such research lies in the fact that we are all witnesses to, or victims of, "violence" against the Other; this serves as a reminder that, although we have come a long way in halting certain types of human rights violations, social justice has not been achieved in our present liberal-democracies.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > Political Science
Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Authors:Field, Ann-Marie
Pagination:v, 137 leaves ; 29 cm.
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:Theses (M.A.)
Program:Dept. of Political Science
Date:1997
Thesis Supervisor(s):Salee, Daniel
ID Code:826
Deposited By:Concordia University Libraries
Deposited On:27 Aug 2009 13:14
Last Modified:08 Dec 2010 10:16
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