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Bicchieri, Cristina, , . Norms in the Wild: How to Diagnose, Measure and Change Social Norms
2016, New York: Oxford University Press
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Added by: Björn Freter, Contributed by:

Publisher’s Note: Norms in the Wild takes a unique look at social norms, answering questions about diagnosis (how can we tell that a shared practice is a social norm?), measurement (how do we measure expectations and preferences?), and change (which tools can we adopt to effect norm change?). The theories developed in the book are brought to life by examining real-life cases of norm creation and abandonment, the rationale behind policy interventions, and how change can be spearheaded by various types of trendsetters, be they individuals, groups, or the media. By exploring how a range of problems, from poor sanitation to child marriage, can be addressed, the book shows how social norms can have a causal impact on collective behavior, and which interventions may succeed in creating new norms or abandoning harmful ones. In laying the theoretical groundwork for implementing social changes in a contextually sensitive and empirically based way, it also diagnoses why some less culturally attuned attempts to eliminate negative practices have failed.

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Clardy, Justin Leonard, , . ‘I Don’t Want To be a Playa No More’: An Exploration of the Denigrating effects of ‘Player’ as a Stereotype Against African American Polyamorous Men
2018, Analize: Journal of Gender and Feminist Studies 1, 38-58
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Abstract: This paper shows how amatonormativity and its attendant social pressures converge at the intersections of race, gender, romantic relationality, and sexuality to generate peculiar challenges to polyamorous African American men in American society. Contrary to the view maintained in the “slut-vs-stud” phenomenon, I maintain that the label ‘player’ when applied to polyamorous African American men functions as a pernicious stereotype and has denigrating effects. Specifically, I argue that stereotyping polyamorous African American men as players estranges them from themselves and it constrains their agency by preemptively foreclosing the set of possibilities of what one’s sexual or romantic relational identities can be.

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Dembroff, Robin, , . What is Sexual Orientation?
2018, Philosophers’ Imprint 16.
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Added by: Andrea Blomqvist, Contributed by: Rory Wilson

Abstract: Ordinary discourse is filled with discussions about ‘sexual orientation’. This discourse might suggest a common understanding of what sexual orientation is. But even a cursory search turns up vastly differing, conflicting, and sometimes ethically troubling characterizations of sexual orientation. The conceptual jumble surrounding sexual orientation suggests that the topic is overripe for philosophical exploration. This paper lays the groundwork for such an exploration. In it, I offer an account of sexual orientation – called ‘Bidimensional Dispositionalism’ – according to which sexual orientation concerns what sex[es] and gender[s] of persons one is disposed to sexually engage, and makes no reference to one’s own sex and gender

Comment: Dembroff provides an interesting alternative to the Kinsey scale as well as Edward Stein’s dispositional account of sexual orientation. Pairs well with Stein’s piece of the same name: ‘What is Sexual Oreintation’ in “The Mismatch of Desire: the science, theory, and ethics of sexual orientation”. Can be used for debate on sexual and desire attraction.

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Mackenzie, Catriona (ed.), , Stoljar, Natalie (ed.). Relational Autonomy: Feminist Perspectives on Automony, Agency, and the Social Self
2000, Oxford University Press.
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Publisher’s Note: This collection of original essays explores the social and relational dimensions of individual autonomy. Rejecting the feminist charge that autonomy is inherently masculinist, the contributors draw on feminist critiques of autonomy to challenge and enrich contemporary philosophical debates about agency, identity, and moral responsibility. The essays analyze the complex ways in which oppression can impair an agent’s capacity for autonomy, and investigate connections, neglected by standard accounts, between autonomy and other aspects of the agent, including self-conception, self-worth, memory, and the imagination.

Comment: All but one of the papers in this volume are writtn by underrepresented authors.
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Nussbaum, Martha, , . Sex and Social Justice
1999, Oxford University Press.
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Back matter: What does it mean to respect the dignity of a human being? What sort of support do human capacities demand from the world, and how should we think about this support when we encounter differences of gender or sexuality? How should we think about each other across divisions that a legacy of injustice has created? In Sex and Social Justice, Martha Nussbaum delves into these questions and emerges with a distinctive conception of feminism that links feminist inquiry closely to the important progress that has been made during the past few decades in articulating theories of both national and global justice. Growing out of Nussbaum’s years of work with an international development agency connected with the United Nations, this collection charts a feminism that is deeply concerned with the urgent needs of women who live in hunger and illiteracy, or under unequal legal systems. Offering an internationalism informed by development economics and empirical detail, many essays take their start from the experiences of women in developing countries. Nussbaum argues for a universal account of human capacity and need, while emphasizing the essential role of knowledge of local circumstance. Further chapters take on the pursuit of social justice in the sexual sphere, exploring the issue of equal rights for lesbians and gay men. Nussbaum’s arguments are shaped by her work on Aristotle and the Stoics and by the modern liberal thinkers Kant and Mill. She contends that the liberal tradition of political thought holds rich resources for addressing violations of human dignity on the grounds of sex or sexuality, provided the tradition transforms itself by responsiveness to arguments concerning the social shaping of preferences and desires. She challenges liberalism to extend its tradition of equal concern to women, always keeping both agency and choice as goals. With great perception, she combines her radical feminist critique of sex relations with an interest in the possibilities of trust, sympathy, and understanding. Sex and Social Justice will interest a wide readership because of the public importance of the topics Nussbaum addresses and the generous insight she shows in dealing with these issues. Brought together for this timely collection, these essays, extensively revised where previously published, offer incisive political reflections by one of our most important living philosophers.

Comment: Chapter ‘Judging Other Cultures: The Case of Genital Mutilation’ can be particularly useful in illustrating the debate on universality vs relativity of ethical norms and values, and in discussing the legitimacy of imposing cultural norms of one culture upon another.

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