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New Left Review I/223, May-June 1997

Nancy Fraser

A Rejoinder to Iris Young

Iris Young and I seem to inhabit different worlds. [1] See Iris Marion Young, ‘Unruly Categories: A Critique of Nancy Fraser’s Dual Systems Theory’, nlr 222, pp. 147–160. In her world, there are no divisions between the social Left and the cultural Left. Proponents of cultural politics work cooperatively with proponents of social politics, linking claims for the recognition of difference with claims for the redistribution of wealth. Virtually no practitioners of identity politics are essentialist, moreover, let alone authoritarian or chauvinist. Claims for the recognition of difference are only rarely advanced, finally, as ends in themselves; nearly all are put forward as transitional socialist demands. According to Young, therefore, the divisions that inspired my article are artefacts of my ‘dichotomous framework,’ figments of my imagination.

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