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The next session of the UvA Philosophy and Public Affairs colloquium will take place on Wednesday 13 March, 4-6pm. Dorothea Gädeke (UU) will present and Gerrit Schaafsma will comment. Location: Faculteitskamer/Faculty Room, Oude Turfmarkt 147 (entrance at 141), Department of Philosophy, University of Amsterdam.

Detail Summary
Date 14 March 2019
Time 16:00 - 18:00

Who is responsible for fighting domination? Neorepublicans hold that domination constitutes one, if not the, paramount evil with which political theory should be concerned. Given that domination is conceived of as the lack of an institutionally constituted status, their main focus lies on spelling out institutional requirements of realizing non-domination. However, the crucial issue of who is to establish these institutions and thus to fight domination has hardly been addressed, at least not within the neorepublican framework. One reason might be that, at first sight, the answer seems obvious: Why not simply hold dominators responsible for putting an end to dominating others? This view, however, is – or so I will argue – misleading in at least two respects. It is based on an oversimplified conception of domination that ignores its structural dimension. Thus, it misses what is problematic about domination and overlooks that the dominators’ unilateral attempt to abolish domination risks reverting to domination.

I proceed in three steps. First, I lay out a slightly modified conception of domination which casts it as a form of structural injustice. Domination, I argue, is best conceived as a structurally constituted form of power. Hence, it is not a dyadic, but rather a triadic power relation between dominator, dominated and peripheral agents who reproduce aligned social practices. This conception better captures the idea that domination is denial of status and it strengthens its potential for social critique. However, it requires a model of responsibility that accounts for the fact that domination is neither necessarily intended nor reducible to the bilateral relation between dominator and dominated. Engaging with the outcome-based, the capacity-based and the social connection model suggested by existing literature on responsibility, I secondly propose a political account of responsibility which meets this requirement. Based on this account I show thirdly that dominators, dominated and peripheral agents share political responsibility for domination in virtue of their position within dominating power structures. The content of their duties focuses on acknowledging and undermining this position, not on helping others.

Dorothea Gädeke (UU) will give a short introduction followed by comments from Gerrit Schaafsma (UvA)

Dorothea Gädeke studied Political Science with minors in Philosophy and Public Law /International Law at Free University Berlin and the Institute d'Etudes Politiques, Aix-en-Provence, France. In 2014, she received her doctoral degree with her dissertation Politik der Beherrschung published by Suhrkamp. She develops a critical-republican perspective on justice that serves to identify foundations and limits of foreign democracy promotion.

Gerrit Schaafsma got his doctoral degree with his thesis Justice as fairness and property rights: beyond property-owning democracy in 2017. He has been a junior researcher at the University of Stellenbosch and is currently working on a post-doc project at the University of Amsterdam.