Affective equality: love matters

Sara Cantillon, Kathleen Lynch

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Abstract

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.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)169–186
Number of pages18
JournalHypatia
Volume32
Issue number1
Early online date9 Dec 2016
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2017

Keywords

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

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