Nancy Fraser

Ideas tended to flow easily between the university and the movement during the era of second-wave feminism. But as feminism became academicized, the flow was disrupted. Nonetheless, says Nancy Fraser, given the hunger for new thinking in all arenas after the 2008 crash, this is changing once again.

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Feminist critical theorist Nancy Fraser outlines in interview her concept of “parity of participation”, or the representation of women in institutional structures. The concept, she argues, bridged the traditional leftwing theoretical dichotomy between distribution and recognition and in turn raises the question: who determines who is to be represented? Here Fraser emphasizes the centrality of the politics of interpretation in any dialogue about justice, such as that between western feminism and Islam.

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How is globalisation reconcilable with new prospects for social justice?
Nancy Fraser looks at the struggles for recognition between social movements and political classes that emerge from the new world order and outlines structures for a more balanced redistribution between unequally developed parts of the world.

Nancy Fraser explains how the shift from redistribution to recognition undertaken by political movements during the 1990s forms part of the “post-socialist condition”. The fall of the Soviet Union, she argues, not only brought the end of communism, but also sucked the energy out of most movements with social-egalitarian aspirations. Yet in an era of globalization, the change could also be seen as one of “frame”. Campaigners for redistribution are no longer constrained by the borders of the nation-state, and concentrate their efforts increasingly on inequalities between, rather than within, nations. Transnational activism is where Fraser now hopes challenges to the “post-socialist” common sense will emerge.