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Stopler, Gila. “The Personal Is Political: The Feminist Critique of Liberalism and the Challenge of Right-Wing Populism.” International Journal of Constitutional Law 19, no. 2 (May 8, 2021): 393–402.

Abstract

The recent democratic backsliding and the decline of liberal hegemony have generated different explanations for the turn away from liberal democracy. This article offers an explanation based on the feminist critique of structural and theoretical flaws within liberalism and argues that these flaws are used effectively by right-wing populism to endanger liberal democracy. Using feminist critiques of political liberalism, including critiques of the public/private and political/non-political distinctions, the article claims that the liberal choice to allow the flourishing of bigotry and intolerance in the private sphere and to require respect for equality only in the public sphere has made liberalism vulnerable to the right-wing populist attack. Political liberalism has rejected the feminist call to recognize that the personal is political and has relied on political institutions and processes as barriers against illiberalism. Liberal states applying these principles are therefore ill equipped to fight right-wing populists who rally their supporters around the promise to do away with political institutions and to let the populist leaders turn their private prejudices into public policy. The article calls for a redrawing of the lines between the political and non-political, and between the public and the private, to meet the challenge of right-wing populism.

illiberalism.org

illiberalism.org

The Illiberalism Studies Program studies the different faces of illiberal politics and thought in today’s world, taking into account the diversity of their cultural context, their intellectual genealogy, the sociology of their popular support, and their implications on the international scene.

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