Question: Contemporary Social Theory And Politics Have Been Plagued By A Persistent Antinomy Between The “logic Of Equality” (Redistribution) And The “logic Of Difference” (Identity). How Does Nancy Fraser Propose To Overcome This Antinomy?

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Question: Contemporary social theory and politics have been plagued by a persistent antinomy between the “logic of equality” (redistribution) and the “logic of difference” (identity). How does Nancy Fraser propose to overcome this antinomy?

One continuing challenge that confronts any movement aspiring towards social and political change is that of forming and sustaining the oppositional culture that forms an integral aspect of its practical base. Movement politics involves more than the collectively rational choice to mobilise resources and act on interests that are transparent to a subordinate group; it requires discursive construction of interests and identities in an ongoing process of moral and intellectual reform.

The collective will necessary to counter the myriad fortresses and earthworks of advanced capitalism can only be sustained through a long-term war of position that wins space for democratic practices in various fields of life. To build such oppositional culture is a basic task for any subordinate group that moves from quiescence to mobilisation, but beyond the initial phase of social-movement formation lies the challenge of maintaining and elaborating that culture as a vibrant lifeworld, in the face of both colonising and marginalising moves by capital and the state. The task of moving beyond sectional interests and identities, towards a many-sided concrete universal - in grand terms, a counter-hegemonic historic bloc - is more daunting still, particularly in these 'postmodern times' when liberal pragmatists like Richard Rorty (1995) announce that broad, durable movements have been superseded by episodic campaigns. If postmodernity has brought, inter alia, a hyper-extended and commodified cultural sphere (Jameson 1991), a scepticism toward reified meta-narratives, and the collapse of modernist attempts to build state-socialist enclaves within what is tendentially a global system, the new political landscape also seems to ground what Nancy Fraser has termed a cultural politics of recognition that is analytically distinct from ...