Dorothea Gädeke | 2024


In: Frank Lovett and Mortimer Sellers (eds.): The Oxford Handbook of Republicanism, Oxford University Press

The republican concern with domination takes domination to refer to the denial of equal status as a free person. Yet, in contemporary republican debates this status-based core of the republican concern with domination has been curiously neglected. The earlier freedom-based and the more recent power-based approaches to conceptualizing domination tend to misconceive domination as an interactional wrong, thus jeopardizing the normative distinctiveness and the social-analytical potential of republicanism. This neglect of the status-based core of domination is rooted in a conceptual ambivalence of Pettit’s seminal account that can be remedied by reconceiving domination as a structurally constituted form of power. This reconceptualization not only takes the status-based core of republicanism seriously, it thus also helps address the most pertinent challenges that have been raised against the republican concern with domination, including the charges of being insufficiently distinct from the liberal concern with interference and of being too indiscriminate, making domination ubiquitous and non-domination impossible. The modified conception shows how domination is distinct, normatively speaking, expressing an ideal of the free person rather than free choice. And it captures the distinct social reality of domination: domination is more specific than merely being exposed to any random capacities to interfere; it refers to structurally constituted forms of power that establish asymmetry in standing.

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