Browsing Masters Degrees (Philosophy) by browse.metadata.advisor "Du Toit, Louise"
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- ItemBetween buzzwords and bodies: investigating the ambiguities of Allyship with Judith Butler’s relational thinking(Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University, 2020-12) Vosloo, Jana Lydia; Du Toit, Louise; Stellenbosch University. Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. Dept. of Philosophy.ENGLISH ABSTRACT: This thesis aims to investigate and deepen the concept of “allyship” from a relational lens. By asking how feminist philosopher Judith Butler’s relational thinking might offer a more nuanced account of allyship, I suggest that there are certain limitations within the current academic and social discourse surrounding allyship, particularly concerning acts of public assembly in the form of protest action. These limitations are identified based on the “surplus in meaning” that stems from ambiguous acts of allyship on an ontological, ethical and political level, as informed by both my personal experience during protest action and the specific case study of the “human shield” as a perceived act of allyship. Every focal point of this thesis, therefore, seeks to sketch how Butler’s relational thinking can offer a helpful lexicon to engage fruitfully with the ambiguities of allyship. In Chapter Two, I set out to explain what constitutes Butler’s relational thinking. By providing a broader overview of her theoretical oeuvre, I frame Butler’s relational thinking as an intertwined account of ontology, ethics, and politics. I then continue to discuss each of these three aspects respectively. In doing so, I point out that Butler’s relational ontology offers an alternative ontology against sovereign subjectivity; a distinct account of the Butlerian subject (as always in process, discursive, performative, and opaque); and a social ontology that is embodied. I also show how Butler’s relational ethics advocates for “the liveable life” that seeks to reduce precarity by focusing on our shared sense of precariousness and responsibility for the other. Lastly, I claim that Butler’s constructivist account of political agency translates into a politics of subversion that can offer new ways of considering transformative political action. Having provided a clear understanding of what Butler’s relational thinking entails, Chapter Three aims to pave the way towards considering how Butler’s relational thinking can be traced within her thoughts on public assembly and alliances. Specifically, this chapter provides a thematic exploration of Butler’s book Notes Towards a Performative Theory of Assembly (2015) as a potentially fruitful source with the broader problem of the allyship discourse in mind. In doing so, I explore Butler’s politics of precarity and vulnerability; her ontological understanding of alliances as uneasy and unpredictable; and her ethics of cohabitation that centre around our obligations towards unchosen others. Finally, Chapter Four provides a more concrete analysis of the allyship discourse with Butler’s established relational lens. By drawing out the themes of “privilege”, “support”, and “action” from the prevailing definition of allyship, I identify the ontological, ethical and political shortcomings and assumptions within the allyship discourse. Through this, I argue that the allyship discourse perpetuates sovereign subjectivity, overly simplistic and dichotomous thinking, as well as narrow understandings of support and action. In contrast, I show how Butler’s relational thinking can avoid these shortcomings as it allows for more dynamic, intersectional, interdependent, uneasy, unpredictable and embodied ways of understanding allyship. In this way, Butler provides a theoretical lexicon that can speak to the “surplus in meaning” of allyship by critically emphasising – and embracing– what happens between bodies and buzzwords.
- ItemThe exploitation of the labour of love(Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University, 2018-03) Calitz, Vasti; Du Toit, Louise; Stellenbosch University. Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. Dept. of Philosophy.ENGLISH SUMMARY: This thesis seeks to establish the wrongfulness of an unequal division of nurturing work between members of heterosexual couples. Nurturing work is the overlapping constellation of housework, care, and emotion work, each of which women do more of than their male partners. I turn to feminist political philosophy (specifically Susan Moller Okin) to show that justice requires, at minimum, that the vulnerability women experience as a result of marriage needs to be mitigated by the state, and that the equal distribution of nurturing work needs to be facilitated by labour law. However, this is not enough to establish whether or not one wrongs one’s partner by allowing her to do more nurturing work. In order to prove this, I rely on Ruth Sample’s work to show that an unequal division of labour constitutes degradation of women in three ways. Firstly, it constitutes taking advantage of an existing injustice by gaining the benefit of receiving more care than one gives because one’s female partner was socialised into giving it. Secondly, an inequality of nurturing work is also an inequality in status accord, and if such inequality is endered, it confirms for oneself and one’s partner, as well as other witnesses, the relative lesser importance (and therefore inferiority) of women. This is also degradation. Thirdly, I argue, using Miranda Fricker and Sandra Bartky, that a gendered distribution of nurturing work contributes to the hermeneutical marginalisation of women, which also constitutes a degradation of women. I thus prove a strong moral obligation to refrain from degrading one’s partner, and therefore a strong moral obligation to not allow one to be taken care of more than one takes care of one’s partner. In the last chapter I show that nurturing work is significant for improving the quality of a relationship, as well as for contributing to one’s human flourishing. I argue this because even if the background conditions are not such that an unequal division of nurturing work would be degradation, there are very good reasons to become good at nurturing work, since it contributes to the flourishing of the individual as well as the relationship.
- ItemFrom Self to citizenry: an exploration of the construction and destruction of trust when a police officer rapes(Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University, 2021-03) Khadija Bawa; Du Toit, Louise; Stellenbosch University. Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. Dept. of Philosophy.ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The aim of this thesis is to develop a feminist account of the erosion of trust brought about by acts of police rape at personal, interpersonal and institutional levels. The study explores the role that trust plays in the cultivation and destruction of relationships where police officers abuse the women and children they should serve to protect. The study commences in chapters one and two with a documentation of the South African Police Service (SAPS) history of (sexual) violence and goes on to describe three recent cases of police rape perpetrated against two women and a girl, namely the cases of K, F and Rebecca Mosepele. The study lays out the facts and circumstances of the rapes and assaults committed in N K v Minister of Safety and Security 2005 (6) SA 419 (CC), F v Minister of Safety and Security 2012 (1) SA 536 (CC) and Mosepele v Mokgethi and Another 2018 SA 66 (ZAWHC). Statistical research collated by the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) is used to contextualise these individual cases and to justify some of the generalisations made from the analysis. Attention is also paid to court findings on vicarious liability when police officers rape the people they are supposed to protect. Chapter three presents the theoretical basis for the philosophical dimension of the study, which focuses on relations of trust – how they are constructed, and how they are undermined or completely destroyed. Following Trudy Govier’s and Niklas Luhmann’s analyses, the defining characteristics of trust are identified as involving positive expectations (premised on the trustor’s appraisal of the competence and intentions of the trustee), risk (which can be exacerbated by systemic vulnerabilities experienced by certain groups), meaningful communication (which involves expectation of sincerity and transparency) and a temporal dimension (which allows us to extrapolate past outcomes to future expectations). The specific forms of trust that are investigated are interpersonal trust (which includes both thick and thin relations with others), self-trust (which is dependent on our self-assessment of our competencies, intentions, and ability to make sound judgements) and institutional trust (which necessitates that institutions are viewed as legitimate, and which – it is argued – is necessary to also reinforce the legitimacy of the state as such, especially in young democracies). These different forms of trust are interwoven and form a living and dynamic network of trust, which is drawn upon when trust judgements are made. In chapter four the theoretical framework of trust is applied to the case studies laid out in chapter two. The main conclusions drawn from this analysis include that trust should be viewed as an interconnected network of trust and that the assault committed by police officers violates this network in different ways, such as jeopardizing the victim’s ability to form future trusting judgements and relationships. In the application of institutional trust to the cases, it is shown that the harms experienced as a result of institutional trust violations are compounded when there are insufficient levels of institutional oversight (for example by the IPID) and accountability in the aftermath of such violations. This institutional breach of trust constitutes a further injustice suffered by the victims of police rape and ultimately undermines the trustworthiness of the state itself, in relation to its most vulnerable citizens.
- ItemA philosophical investigation of virginity testing in Kwazulu-Natal: a contribution to the multiculturalism and feminism debate.(Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University, 2021-12) Dlamini, Lennox Khulekani; Du Toit, Louise; Stellenbosch University. Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. Dept. of Philosophy.ENGLISH ABSTRACT: A debate has broken out between promoters of multiculturalism and those of feminism. Even though both can be said to be interested in some form of equality, some feminists argue that multiculturalists’ demand for cultural group rights can only be realised at the expense of women. Will Kymlicka (1995) is convinced that individualistic human rights as promulgated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights are insufficient for the protection of two kinds of groups, that is, national and polyethnic minorities. According to Kymlicka group-specific rights are morally justified as means to ensure minorities’ meaningful participation in liberal society and government. Susan Moller Okin (1999) in her book, Is Multiculturalism Bad for Women? questions and rejects Kymlicka’s multiculturalist theory based on her conviction that it represents a threat to the progress made by feminists to challenge patriarchal worldviews. She argues that there is an inherent conflict between feminism and multiculturalism, and if special group rights were to be granted to national minorities, women from the minorities would be in a disadvantaged position (ibid.:10). However, Okin’s strong tone in her suggestion that cultures that oppress women should be allowed to go extinct is an issue of concern and has polarised the debate in the form of an intractable multiculturalism vs feminism conflict. Anne Phillips (2007; 2010) offers an alternative/middle way to the stonecast polarisation caused by what she deemed as an exaggerated value given to role of culture as a determining cause of human behaviour (2007:8). According to Phillips, a fundamental change in our understanding of the role culture plays in people’s lives will defuse the construed dilemma between multiculturalism and feminism. This change entails rejecting the essentialist and deterministic notions that are too often attached to culture. Like Phillips, I argue that both multiculturalism and feminism have something to offer on the condition that both accept that cultures are always changing as the result of both internal and external influences. At the same time, I argue that culture needs not be the enemy of feminism; on the contrary, culture and particular practices can be manipulated in such a way that they advance feminist goals. Thus, in Chapter Five, I link the multiculturalism and feminism debate to the lived experience of the people of South Africa. I focus on virginity testing (henceforth VT), as practised in KwaZulu-Natal. In the early 1990s, VT was re-established in KwaZulu-Natal as a cultural alternative to government initiatives to fight the spread of HIV/AIDS. In recent years, however, VT has been condemned by South African human rights organisations and women’s rights organisations such as the African National Congress Women’s League (ANCWL). In response, in 2006, the government signed into law the Children’s Act No. 38 of 2005, which bans VT of girls younger than 16 years of age and regulates VT of the girls above 16. I argue that a total ban on VT might deprive feminists of the opportunity to empower young girls through promoting those VT elements that have the potential to strengthen the feminist agenda.
- ItemPyrrhonian reflections: a sceptical inquiry into philosophical counselling(Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University, 2021-03) Louw, Jaco; Louw, Dirk; Du Toit, Louise; Stellenbosch University. Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. Dept. of Philosophy.ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Philosophical counselling is generally understood as the discussion or resolution of everyday problems with the help of philosophy. However, few agree on this definition. This leads to a crisis of definition for philosophical counselling which in turn causes practical problems regarding, inter alia, the teaching of future philosophical counsellors, the question of method, and the potential scope of philosophical counselling. I identify in this study a prevalent therapeutic thesis on the nature of philosophical counselling which ties together some of the more popular conceptions of philosophical counselling. This thesis predominates when philosophical counsellors focus on the counselling part and neglect the philosophical part of philosophical counselling. This stance keeps philosophical counselling firmly contained within a medico-therapeutic framework. In opposition to this predominant view, I propose a reconceptualisation of philosophical counselling which does not subscribe to the therapeutic thesis and by implication works outside of a medical framework. More specifically, in fleshing out my non-therapeutic understanding of philosophical counselling, I propose twelve context-dependent conditions of philosophical counselling by drawing on a Pyrrhonian disposition and also on examples of philosophical counsellors who begin to work outside of the medico-therapeutic framework. I argue that these conditions should be met for philosophical counselling to stay firmly within the realm of philosophy as an aim in itself, thereby remaining true to its origin and basic orientation, and drawing on its innate strengths. With this fundamental reconceptualisation and the accompanying twelve context-dependent conditions, I propose a novel account of philosophical counselling which (i) does not subscribe to the therapeutic thesis, (ii) gives a novel answer to the problem of educating future philosophical counsellors, and (iii) has a clear scope of potential counselees.