Globalization and Third Way Theories: The Beleaguered Family and Marginalization of Women

Thursday, July 17, 2014: 8:30 AM
Room: 303
Oral Presentation
Taisha ABRAHAM , Delhi University, New Delhi, India
The neoliberal logic of globalization that shape today’s world imposes a certain role for the family and the community as important social units to regenerate civil society. This is done best through the reform discourse of third way theories. The concept of the third way of thinking resurfaced in the vacuum created by the collapse of the Soviet bloc, the retreat of socialism, and, the inadequacy of unfettered neo-liberalism to emerge as an effective alternative.

The move of third way theories to create a public space through the family and the community—that is separate from the structures of the state and the compulsions of the market place to foster “dialogic democracy” and civil morality—is very problematic for women. The first relates to the renewing of the family and the community both of which are “essentially contested concepts” without addressing the inequities embedded in these units. The second concerns the shift in the onus of renewing and regulating democracy from the state to the civil society in which individuals gain agency erasing class/caste/gender/race and other structural differences. Globalization intersects in ambivalent ways with already existing caste/class/gender/race relations making the notion of using these social units as tools for civil regeneration, complex.

Third way theories do not necessarily re-invent the family and the community as social units but they merely re-orient them to the demands of neo-liberalism. These theories must locate the family and the community within the global context of restructuring of capital itself and perceive capitalism as both setting limits to the extent to which these units can be reformed or regulated.

I will discuss these theories in relation to India.