Re-conceiving "borders": A feminist pragmatic phenomenology for postcolonial feminist ethics and politics
Banerjee, Amrita, 1979-
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Banerjee, Amrita, 1979-
As an increasing number of differentially situated women implicated within the global economy continue to come into contact with each other, a host of opportunities and challenges are inaugurated for feminist praxes across borders and differences. The cycles of dependencies accentuated by globalization come hand-in-hand with concerns about unequal distribution, unequal access to resources, and the rise of fundamentalist ideologies. All these together remind us of the urgency of collaboration and cooperation across differences. At the same time, the presence of differences and inequalities threaten to undermine the spirit for collaboration at any given moment. We, therefore, need analytical frameworks that are able to do justice to our identities and agency within interactive spaces. We also need better evaluative frameworks for theorizing ethical responsibility and political concerns about justice within a transnational space that take these realities into account. I argue for the possibility of a new "critical multicultural transnational feminism" and develop a theoretical framework to anchor this vision in my dissertation. The "critical" component emphasizes the vision for a feminism that is, at once, a self-reflective praxis. The juxtaposition of "multicultural" and "transnational" seeks to emphasize the need for recognizing both the limitations and the importance of borders on our lives. To do this, I articulate an alternative logic of "borders" so as to develop an interactive ontology for thinking about transnationalism and transnational identity. I then take up the project of envisioning the ethical-political project of "solidarity" in the light of this ontology. The philosophical framework that I develop is inspired by the philosophical pragmatism of Mary Parker Follett and Josiah Royce, the existential phenomenology of Simone de Beauvoir, and the work of various postcolonial feminists such as bell hooks, Chandra Mohanty, and Ofelia Schutte. This framework is a feminist pragmatic phenomenology for postcolonial feminist ethics and politics, which can serve as a normative paradigm and a framework of analysis. Finally, I use the framework developed in the dissertation to analyze and evaluate aspects of the international industry in surrogacy-related fertility tourism--a paradigmatic instance of incommensurability and inequality among women within the global economy.