Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Musings on Linked Fate

This week, Wendy Smooth, an assistant professor in the Department of Women’s Studies with a joint appointment at the Kirwan Institute wrote a piece on linked fate and the potential implications of applying this concept to politics. The full piece can be viewed in our Notes from Staff and Affiliates section of the website.

“Perhaps the best scenario is to think of linked fate as varying across issues. In the simplest of terms, the type of linked fate I am discussing is much like the common ideal that “I should care about your issue, because if it’s you today, it will be me tomorrow.” A more complex vision of this linked fate is the understanding that what is happening to you right now impacts what is possible for me right now—and I act accordingly.”

Click here to read the piece in its entirety.

1 comment:

  1. Two points:

    1) I think “I should care about your issue, because if it’s you today, it will be me tomorrow.” kind of logic is different from the idea of linked fate, mentioned in the beginning of the essay. The former seems to be closely tied to the idea individualism based on one’s self interest. ‘I will support your cause, since it will benefit me, or might benefit me in the future’ is clearly a pragmatic logic. Yet, the middle class Blacks’ support for social policies despite an extra taxburden does not seem to be motivated with a similar logic. It is clearly a communitarian view of history and society that surpasses individualism.

    2) The main problem with the concept of “linked fate” stems from the tension between the concepts of community and inclusion of the marginilized. It is important that many groups come together, work for a common goal and feel that their fates are linked (hence build a community). Yet this will always create tensions within this perceived community and some groups will claim that they are marginalized or asked to assimilate to the mainstream of the community. For example the Black feminists criticized the feminist movement, because their particular point of view was neglected. Hence they said that they had a “ particular fate” different from the White women. I don’t think this tension between community (linked fate) and inclusion of the marginalized (particular fate) is one that can be solved easily.