Making a Difference: Toward a Feminist Democratic Theory in the Digital Age

Asenbaum, H. 2019. Making a Difference: Toward a Feminist Democratic Theory in the Digital Age. Politics & Gender. Advanced online publication. doi:10.1017/S1743923X18001010

TitleMaking a Difference: Toward a Feminist Democratic Theory in the Digital Age
TypeJournal article
AuthorsAsenbaum, H.
Abstract

This essay asks how the democratic ideal of inclusion can be achieved in societies marked by pow-er asymmetries along the lines of identity categories such as gender and race. It revisits debates of difference democracy of the 1990's, which promoted inclusion through a politics of presence of marginalized social groups. This strategy inevitably entails essentializing tendencies, confining the democratic subject within its physically embodied identity. Difference democrats did not take notice of the parallel emerging discourse on cyberfeminism exploring novel identity configurations on the internet. This essay augments the politics of presence with digital identity reconfigurations. Neither difference democrats nor cyberfeminists distinguished between various participatory sites. Drawing on conceptions of participatory spaces from development studies and deliberative democracy, this essay generates a typology differentiating between empowered spaces such as parliaments, invited spaces such as citizens' assemblies, and claimed spaces of social movements. The democratic func-tions these spaces fulfil are best facilitated by three different modes of identity performance: identity continuation, identity negation, and identity exploration. A pluralization of participatory sites and modes of identity performance facilitates inclusion while tackling the essentializing tendencies in difference democracy.

Keywordsdemocratic theory, feminist theory, identity, digital democracy, online engagement
JournalPolitics & Gender
ISSN1743-923X
Year2019
PublisherCambridge University Press
Accepted author manuscriptMaking_a_Difference_Asenbaum.pdf
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)doi:10.1017/S1743923X18001010
Publication dates
Published online31 Jan 2019

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