a1 Brown University
Some of the most interesting and important work on freedom in recent years has been produced by feminist theorists (e.g., Friedman 2003; Hirschmann 2003; Nedelsky 2011; Zerilli 2005; and see Anker, forthcoming). Feminist theory has also generated important insights about the character and conditions of human agency, the intersectional nature of human identities, and the dynamics of political action that richly enhance our understanding of freedom (Ackerly and Attanasi 2009; Alcoff 2006; Anzaldua 2007; Bartky 1990; Beltrán 2010; Benhabib 1992; Brown 1995; Butler 2004, 2006; Crenshaw 1989; Hill-Collins 2005; Love 2007; Mohanty 2003; Young 2005). Yet feminist perspectives on freedom—like others in political theory today (e.g., Berlin 1990; Pettit 2000; Villa 2008)—are limited by their tendency to conceive freedom in a monistic way. Whether freedom means the exercise of personal choice (Hirschmann 2003), or inaugural acts of world making (Arendt 1958; Zerilli 2005), or noninterference (Berlin 1990), or nondomination (Pettit 2000), or something else, theorists generally describe freedom as being just one thing. Yet the experiences that we have of freedom come in different forms, and sometimes the different kinds of freedom that we have, or that we seek, conflict with one another. Nor is it obvious that these conflicts could ever be fully reconciled, even under ideal conditions. Our freedom today is complex: We are at once free and unfree, in ways that are multiple and often conflicting.
Sharon R. Krause is Professor of Political Science, Brown University, Providence, RI: firstname.lastname@example.org