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Anne Philips on Privacy - Dictionary of Arguments

Gaus I 280
Privacy/Anne Philips/Mottier: for [Anne Phillips (1991)(1)] (...) 'the private is political' means primarily that it is necessary to extend the notion of 'the political'. For political science in particular, this means that it is necessary to integrate the private sphere into the analysis, rather than to restrict the analytical focus to the public sphere, as traditional political scientists tend to do.
Democracy: In order to show the necessity of taking into account the private sphere, Phillips focuses on the concept of democracy. She argues that to conceptualize democratic participation without taking into account the constraints of the private sphere entails too narrow a view of democracy. >Democracy/Philips, >Privacy /Political philosophy, >Family/Feminism, cf. >Democratic theory/Pateman, >Participation/Pateman, >Inequalities/Okin, >Privacy/Pateman.
Political sphere/Privacy/PhilipsVsElsthain: For Phillips (1991)(1), (...), the idea of a private sphere independent from the political sphere is meaningless. (Cf. >Privacy/Elshtain). She points out that relations within the private sphere are regulated by the state, economics, and the subordination of women. Consequently, 'these relations are already politicized, whether we want it or not' (1991)(1): 106).
Despite this disagreement, Phillips rejoins Elshtain in arguing for maintaining a separation between the public and the private, but for different reasons: whereas Elshtain(2) argues for the protection of family values from the intervention of the state, Phillips bases her argument on the necessity to preserve areas within which the principle of individual decision and privacy is maintained, and she uses here the example of abortion. On this point, Phillips's position is close to that of Okin and Iris Marion Young (1987(3); see also Petchesky, 1986(4): 108).
PhilipsVsOkin: However, Phillips goes one step further than Okin in arguing for the degendering of the distinction public/private: she argues for detachment of the definition of the spheres from the definition of gender roles. In other words, the distinction between public and private spheres
should be detached from gender differences, and based instead on the criterion of the right to

1. Phillips, Anne (1991) Engendering Democracy. Cambridge: Polity.
2. Elshtain, Jean Bethke (1982) 'Antigone's daughters'. Democracy in the world, 2:48-59.
3. Young, Iris Marion (1987) 'Impartiality and the civic public'. In Seyla Benhabib and Drucilla Cornell, eds, Feminism as Critique. Cambridge: Polity, 56—76.
4. Petchesky, Rosalind (1986) Abortion and Woman's Choice: The State, Sexuality and Reproductive Freedom. London: Verso.

Véronique Mottier 2004. „Feminism and Gender Theory: The Return of the State“. In: Gaus, Gerald F. & Kukathas, Chandran 2004. Handbook of Political Theory. SAGE Publications

Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution. Translations: Dictionary of Arguments
The note [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.
Philips, Anne
Gaus I
Gerald F. Gaus
Chandran Kukathas
Handbook of Political Theory London 2004

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Ed. Martin Schulz, access date 2021-07-27
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