Graham Wallas Professor of Political Science
Office: CON 5.07, Connaught House
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Anne Phillips is the Graham Wallas Professor of Political Science in the Department of Government.
She joined the LSE in 1999 as Professor of Gender Theory, and was Director of the Gender Institute until September 2004. She subsequently moved to a joint appointment between the Gender Institute and Government Department. She is a leading figure in feminist political theory, and writes on issues of bodies and property, democracy and representation, equality, multiculturalism, and difference.
In 1992, she was co-winner of the American Political Science Association's Victoria Schuck Award for Best Book on Women and Politics published in 1991 (awarded for Engendering Democracy). She was awarded an honorary Doctorate from the University of Aalborg in 1999; was appointed Adjunct Professor in the Political Science Programme of the Research School of Social Sciences, Australian National University, 2002-6; and was elected a Fellow of the British Academy in 2003. In 2008, she received a Special Recognition Award from the Political Studies Association, UK, for her contribution to Political Studies. In 2012, she was awarded the title Graham Wallas Professor of Political Science. In 2013 she received an honorary Doctorate from the University of Bristol, and was elected an Academician of the Academy of Social Sciences. In 2014, she will be a Visiting Fellow in the Centre for Moral Social and Political Theory at the Australian National University.
Multiculturalism and Cosmopolitanism
The Human and Humanism
Professor Phillips has recently published 'The Politics of the Human' (Cambridge University Press), based on the Sir John Seeley lectures she gave at the University of Cambridge in 2013. She is currently working on a paper on ‘Democratising in Non-Democratic Contexts’, exploring the politics of gender parity in contexts of legal pluralism, and drawing on her recent research visit at the Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Study (STIAS), South Africa. She is also working on a paper on ‘Exploitation Revisited’ for a forthcoming conference at the University of Guelph, Canada.
GI406: Feminist Political Theory
The Politics of the Human
Cambridge University Press, 2015. ISBN: 9781107475830
The human is a central reference point for human rights. But who or what is that human? And given its long history of exclusiveness, when so many of those now recognised as human were denied the name, how much confidence can we attach to the term? This book works towards a sense of the human that does without substantive accounts of 'humanity' while also avoiding their opposite – the contentless versions that deny important differences such as race, gender and sexuality. Drawing inspiration from Hannah Arendt's anti-foundationalism, Phillips rejects the idea of 'humanness' as grounded in essential characteristics we can be shown to share. She stresses instead the human as claim and commitment, as enactment and politics of equality. In doing so, she engages with a range of contemporary debates on human dignity, humanism, and post-humanism, and argues that none of these is necessary to a strong politics of the human.
Our Bodies, Whose Property?
Princeton University Press, Spring 2013 Princeton, USA. ISBN 9780691150864
No one wants to be treated like an object, regarded as an item of property, or put up for sale. Yet many people frame personal autonomy in terms of self-ownership, representing themselves as property owners with the right to do as they wish with their bodies. Others do not use the language of property, but are similarly insistent on the rights of free individuals to decide for themselves whether to engage in commercial transactions for sex, reproduction, or organ sales. Drawing on analyses of rape, surrogacy, and markets in human organs, Our Bodies, Whose Property? challenges notions of freedom based on ownership of our bodies and argues against the normalization of markets in bodily services and parts. Anne Phillips explores the risks associated with metaphors of property and reasons why the commodification of the body remains problematic.
What, she asks, is wrong with thinking of oneself as the owner of one’s body? What is wrong with making our bodies available for rent or sale? What, if anything, is the difference between markets in sex, reproduction, or human body parts, and the other markets we commonly applaud?
Phillips contends that body markets occupy the outer edges of a continuum that is, in some way, a feature of all labor markets. But she also stresses the fact that we all have bodies, and considers the implications of this otherwise banal fact for equality. Bodies remind us of shared vulnerability, alerting us to the common experience of living as embodied beings in the same world.
Examining the complex issue of body exceptionalism, Our Bodies, Whose Property? demonstrates that treating the body as property makes human equality harder to comprehend.
Gender and Culture
Polity Press, Cambridge, 2010
The idea that respect for cultural diversity conflicts with gender equality is now a staple of both public and academic debate. Yet discussion of these tensions is marred by exaggerated talk of cultural difference, leading to ethnic reductionism, cultural stereotyping, and a hierarchy of traditional and modern. In this volume, Anne Phillips firmly rejects the notion that 'culture' might justify the oppression of women, but also queries the stereotypical binaries that have represented people from ethnocultural minorities as peculiarly resistant to gender equality.
The questions addressed include the relationship between universalism and cultural relativism, how to distinguish valid generalisation from either gender or cultural essentialism, and how to recognise women as agents rather than captives of culture. The discussions are illuminated by reference to legal cases and policy interventions, with a particular focus on forced marriage and cultural defence.