Women’s Needs and Interests between Deliberation and Solidarity
Participation of third world feminists in debates on gender and development broadened our understanding of the practical and strategic needs of women in different contexts. Locality, solidarity and marginality are building blocks of place based activism or “place consciousness” as theorised by Grace Lee Boggs. Locality is significant as a refuge or resistance to globalism. Solidarity, on the other hand, is a real answer to hegemonic discursive paradigms. Besides, marginality, as the super ego of globalism, can acquire epistemic privilege if silent voices are given opportunity for knowledge production.
I would argue that at the root of this ongoing debate a new vision to the interrelatedness between local and global cultures. This new conceptualization gives voice to the subalterns, recognizing periphery and marginality, engendering social values and cultures, enhancing solidarity, celebrating diversity and difference. Marginality is here meant in the sense argued by Bat Ami Bar in her article “Marginality and Epistemic Privilege”, explaining the relation between marginality and acquiring epistemic privilege in the following words:
Epistemic privilege is assigned to the marginalized not because they can block the centre’s authority but because the order needs new voices to legitimise its authority.
Here I adopt the critical point of Lister which is “politics of solidarity in difference” and it identifies three elements of this politics:
1- Framework agreement.
2- A commitment to valuing difference.
3- Dialogue or a deliberative communicative ethic.
In conclusion, I would argue that the next phase of women’s struggles needs to take more seriously the politics of needs interpretation according to which needs and interests locally and globally be defined by women, for women to achieve a real empowerment. It is a struggle over whose ‘needs’ discourse is more powerful and more legitimate. In the same line of reasoning, Nancy Fraser calls for a restructuring and a reinterpretation of needs