Affective equality: love matters

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  • Cantillon, S. & Lynch, K. (2017) Affective equality: love matters

    Rights statement: This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Cantillon, S. and Lynch, K. (2017), Affective Equality: Love Matters. Hypatia, 32: 169–186 which has been published in final form at This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Self-Archiving.

    Accepted author manuscript, 564 KB, PDF-document


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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)169–186
Number of pages18
Issue number1
Early online date9 Dec 2016
StatePublished - 2017


The nurturing that produces love, care, and solidarity constitutes a discrete social system of affective relations. Affective relations are not social derivatives, subordinate to economic, political, or cultural relations in matters of social justice. Rather, they are productive, materialist human relations that constitute people mentally, emotionally, physically, and socially. As love laboring is highly gendered, and is a form of work that is both inalienable and noncommodifiable, affective relations are therefore sites of political import for social justice. We argue that it is impossible to have gender justice without relational justice in loving and caring. Moreover, if love is to thrive as a valued social practice, public policies need to be directed by norms of love, care, and solidarity rather than norms of capital accumulation. To promote equality in the affective domains of loving and caring, we argue for a four-dimensional rather than a three-dimensional model of social justice as proposed by Nancy Fraser (2008). Such a model would align relational justice, especially in love laboring, with the equalization of resources, respect, and representation.


  • affective equality, social justice, Fraser, model of political equality