Relations of mutual recognition: transforming the political aspect of autonomy

Méndez Mateluna, María Pía (2020) Relations of mutual recognition: transforming the political aspect of autonomy. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Being autonomous depends on the kind of relations we enjoy in the different domains of our lives, but the impact of decision-making and the power exercise that takes place in the political sphere, makes political relations crucial to our development and enjoyment of autonomy. This dissertation develops a novel view of political participation by interrogating its connection to our personal autonomy. According to this view, our political relations are partially constitutive of our personal autonomy, which in other words means there is a political aspect of our autonomy. The kind of political relations we should hold to fully enjoy our autonomy is what I call Relations of Mutual Recognition. It is the mutual recognition of each agent’s autonomous standing—translated into a proper distribution of political power— that will face dominating political relations. The basis for that domination comes from our democracies’ power imbalances that condition influence over political decision-making to each individual’s economic, social or cultural standing. Consequently, there are political conditions for our autonomy to thrive. Relations of Mutual Recognition require two main conditions: non-domination and control. I take these two neo-republican ideals and redefine them to shape what a proper distribution of political power amounts to.

Political participation comes in precisely to identify a way to challenge power imbalances. Therefore, my definition of political participation, which I call Collective Self-Government, requires a particular sort of implementation. Accordingly, I suggest a deliberative and inclusive arrangement that involves direct and innovative forms of decision-making, and more importantly, grants relevant shares of authority to all actors, i.e., common citizens, legislators, technocrats, etcetera.

This project could rightly belong to both a relational approach to autonomy and be labelled as a version of deliberative democracy. However, relational accounts focus on our social relations, whilst I claim that we cannot be “less” or non-autonomous in the political sphere and still enjoy an autonomous life. Likewise, the participatory focus—in the sense of inclusion of all actors—of this proposal more accurately turn it into either a participatory version of deliberative democracy or a deliberative version of participatory democracy.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Relational autonomy, political participation, self-government, non-domination, political power, political control.
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > B Philosophy (General)
Colleges/Schools: College of Arts > School of Humanities > Philosophy
Funder's Name: National Commission for Scientific and Technological Research (CONICYT)
Supervisor's Name: Colburn, Prof. Ben and Simion, Dr. Mona
Date of Award: 2020
Unique ID: glathesis:2020-81936
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 20 Jan 2021 17:30
Last Modified: 20 Jan 2021 17:44
Thesis DOI: 10.5525/gla.thesis.81936

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