Feminist Critiques of Consent

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Consent is at the center of feminist politics and theory; the importance of this concept is evident in the recent campus activism around sexual assault. Because consent has become so critically important, it is necessary for feminists to interrogate the concept of consent. In this dissertation, I argue that consent is necessary but insufficient to create just political or ethical relations through evaluating and critiquing feminist liberalism. Within feminist liberalism, consent serves two functions: to determine wrong or injustice, and to limit the acceptable scope of state power. I argue that the structure of consent itself leads to serious problems when feminist liberals attempt to use consent in this expansive way; instead, we need to rely on substantive norms.

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  • 02/13/2018
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