Bad News

Oh, damn. It’s only recently that I saw a bibliographical reference to Susan Moller Okin’s work (I think in one of Martha Nussbaum’s books, but I’m not sure) and read Is Multiculturalism Bad for Women?, but I’ve certainly been leaning heavily on it ever since. I just think it’s an excellent book and argument, that points out a lot of things that get too easily overlooked. I haven’t read her other books but have made a mental note to do so. And now – well damn, that’s all. No more books. That’s a real loss.

And judging by this article it’s a global loss, and a loss that goes beyond the library, too. (Not that I think the library is not enough, I don’t, but I certainly admire people who add to libraries and do more besides.) Damn and blast.

Okin argued that if theorists fail to speak about the concerns of women in the domestic sphere, they thereby fail to take into account what it takes to have a public sphere, said Rob Reich, assistant professor of political science. In Justice, Gender and the Family, Okin asked whether the principles of justice should be applied to the family. “Her attitude was that the family could not be exempt from a conception of justice,” Reich said. “After that [book], it was impossible for people to write about political theory regarding the position of women” without taking the domestic sphere into account.

That’s the kind of thing that gets too easily overlooked, for instance in the way people think about multiculturalism and “group rights” – which all too often turn out to be rights to oppress girls and women. Well – hail and farewell.

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