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Feminism and postmodernism? Situated self and interactive universalism in Seyla Benhabib

Grant number: 16/11790-0
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Scientific Initiation
Effective date (Start): November 01, 2016
Effective date (End): October 31, 2017
Field of knowledge:Humanities - Philosophy - Ethics
Principal researcher:Nathalie de Almeida Bressiani
Grantee:Michele Teixeira Bonote
Home Institution: Centro de Ciências Naturais e Humanas (CCNH). Universidade Federal do ABC (UFABC). Ministério da Educação (Brasil). Santo André , SP, Brazil


In Situating the Self, Seyla Benhabib recovers the feminist, communitarian and postmodern critiques of Enlightment ideals and underlines the exclusions created and/or justified by these ideals. Those critiques, however, don´t lead Benhabib to abandon the modern project. They are reconstructed, rather, from within her proposal of an "interactive universalism", with which she seeks to overcome the limits of Enlightment without giving up its achievements. In order to understand the "interactive universalism" developed by Benhabib, this research aims to analyze, firstly, why Benhabib problematizes the "alliance" between feminists and "postmoderns" on the critic of a "rational universal subject", which is presupposed by the Western philosophical tradition. For that, we will depart from the distinction between what Benhabib calls the process of individual socialization and what Butler calls the process of subject constitution. Then, we will analyze how Benhabib, after calling attention to the fact that the subject is always situated, but not entirely determined by her context, reformulates the universalist project in the terms of an "interactive universalism", in which the perspectives of the generalized and of the concrete other are considered. (AU)

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