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Recognition and the Other
Unformatted Document Text:  Recognition and the Other, p. 11 of sameness -- of familiarity, recognition. It is the request to love the stranger as a familiar. Perhaps this is what accounts for the proliferation of tears when the PFLAG (parents and friends of lesbians and gays) contingent marches by in the annual gay pride parades -- the power of being enfamilied, recognized and claimed in spite of our unutterable otherness. The Discursive Constraints of Liberalism 4 With its emphasis on individualism, rationality, impartiality, and public/private boundaries, liberalism calls upon us to separate fact and value in order to deliberate for our common good. Yet as Sandel notes, our public deliberations are often infused with underlying, implicit moral debates. In the context of public deliberation about sexual minorities, for example, the discursive constraints of liberalism require sexually deviant "others" (or those speaking on their behalf like PFLAG members) to speak through heteronormative and morally denuded claims of universalism -- such as to be "just like everyone else" -- of biological essentialism, such as the claim that sexual "otherness" is "not a choice" -- or of individualism, such as the claim that homosexuality is a private and personal matter. Thus in ostensibly pluralistic publics, the discursive options are often either to debate scripture or shift to the terrain of rights and common humanity (and thereby occlude the presence of difference). For example, many arguments against anti-discrimination laws for sexual minorities dismiss such laws as "special rights." The question is often framed either as whether or not the state should sanction certain personal behavioral practices or whether certain groups of individuals can be considered persons. Thus the liberalist discursive preoccupations with 4 As Andrew Kerhonan (1998) observes, "Cultural oppression is perpetuated not by malicious acts of individuals, but by normal practices of groups. It is covert and accumulative… Liberalism's traditional focus on fighting coercion, on freedom of conscience, and freedom of speech, has blocked its ability to handle more diffuse and subtle forms of power. Cultural oppression is a form of power" (p. 14).

Authors: Lipari, Lisbeth.
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Recognition and the Other, p. 11
of sameness -- of familiarity, recognition. It is the request to love the stranger as a familiar.
Perhaps this is what accounts for the proliferation of tears when the PFLAG (parents and friends
of lesbians and gays) contingent marches by in the annual gay pride parades -- the power of being
enfamilied, recognized and claimed in spite of our unutterable otherness.
The Discursive Constraints of Liberalism
4
With its emphasis on individualism, rationality, impartiality, and public/private
boundaries, liberalism calls upon us to separate fact and value in order to deliberate for our
common good. Yet as Sandel notes, our public deliberations are often infused with underlying,
implicit moral debates. In the context of public deliberation about sexual minorities, for
example, the discursive constraints of liberalism require sexually deviant "others" (or those
speaking on their behalf like PFLAG members) to speak through heteronormative and morally
denuded claims of universalism -- such as to be "just like everyone else" -- of biological
essentialism, such as the claim that sexual "otherness" is "not a choice" -- or of individualism,
such as the claim that homosexuality is a private and personal matter.
Thus in ostensibly pluralistic publics, the discursive options are often either to debate
scripture or shift to the terrain of rights and common humanity (and thereby occlude the presence
of difference). For example, many arguments against anti-discrimination laws for sexual
minorities dismiss such laws as "special rights." The question is often framed either as whether
or not the state should sanction certain personal behavioral practices or whether certain groups of
individuals can be considered persons. Thus the liberalist discursive preoccupations with
4
As Andrew Kerhonan (1998) observes, "Cultural oppression is perpetuated not by malicious acts of
individuals, but by normal practices of groups. It is covert and accumulative… Liberalism's traditional
focus on fighting coercion, on freedom of conscience, and freedom of speech, has blocked its ability to
handle more diffuse and subtle forms of power. Cultural oppression is a form of power" (p. 14).


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