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Theorising domination: power, rules and benefits

Gajewska, K; (2013) Theorising domination: power, rules and benefits. Masters thesis , UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

This work focuses on the conceptual analysis of domination, with elements of normative analysis. I argue that A dominates B if A possesses greater power than B (the imbalance of power condition) and if A's power is arbitrary. Special attention is paid to the connection between domination and the provision of benefits within sustained social relationships. I examine the three elements (power, arbitrariness and benefits) in turn, In section 2 I look at the notion of power and argue it is the ability to affect another's opportunity sets and the choices one makes from these sets. I then look at the first condition of domination, which is the imbalance of 'power-over'. In section 3 I deal with the notion of arbitrariness as defended by Frank Lovett (the procedural account), Philip Pettit (the democratic account) and Marilyn Friedman (the subjective account). My argument is that none of these accounts succeed. In section 4 I argue that the relevant notion of arbitrariness is objective interest-tracking. Therein I also examine the provision of benefits within sustained relationships and argue that the existence of such relationships requires that we broaden our understanding of domination to involve 'the exchange requirement', according to which B is dominated even if A is forced to track some of her objective interests, when this is part of a harm-benefit exchange. Section 5 contains normative considerations regarding whether it is ever correct to say that being in a dominative relationship is beneficial overall. I suggest different ways of looking at the benefits provided in domination and argue that even though domination can be beneficial, our interest in well-being and dignity means we should reject these relationships given that the benefits in question are enmeshed with harms.

Type: Thesis (Masters)
Title: Theorising domination: power, rules and benefits
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Dept of Philosophy
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1358373
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