Political Philosophy of the Impossible: Authority, Domination, and Social Movements
Ethics and Political Philosophy
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AbstractFollowing the Umbrella Movement in Hong Kong was what first led me to explore topics of authority and domination. In exploring these topics through the Umbrella Movement, I conducted a series of interview researches with people who have participated in the movement in order to acquire first-hand information. These interviews are then connected to the theoretical ideas of the philosophers I discuss. Using Bakunin and Godwin’s understandings of authority, a synthesis of Plumwood and Clark’s critiques of domination, and the anti-authoritarian philosophies of Kropotkin, Malatesta, and Dewey, I explore in this work different forms of domination that stem from coercive authority, such as imperial, economic, gender, racial, ecological, and legal domination. Plumwood and Clark’s critiques of domination suggest that domination can be ideologically sanctioned, socially conditioned, habituated, and institutionalized. However, social movements such as the Umbrella Movement demonstrate how non-dominating forms of social organization can be created in public spaces, encouraging open discussions of important issues without resorting to authority and hierarchy. The thesis of this work is that recognizing these non-dominating forms of authority in social life, along with the implementation of self-directed social organizations, can help address existing forms of domination in race, gender, class, and the environment.