Ethics/Politics Seminar: 'On Dominated Dominators'

A joint seminar of Centre for Ethics and Metaethics and the Political Theory and Cultural Values Research Group: Lea Ypi (LSE), 'On Dominated Dominators'. All welcome!

Lea Ypi is Professor of Political Theory in the Government Department of the London School of Economics and Associate Professor in Philosophy at the Research School of Social Sciences at the Australian National University.  Her research interests are in normative political theory (including democratic theory, theories of justice, and issues of migration and territorial rights), Enlightenment political thought (especially Kant), Marxism and critical theory, as well as nationalism in the intellectual history of the Balkans. More information can be found on her website. 


This paper explores the case of dominated dominators as a way of understanding structural domination. I suggest that structural domination, the domination from which dominators suffer (over and above the dominated) is a particularly pernicious form of interference, which ought to worry us more than the agential and intersubjective forms of domination that we have been so far mostly concerned with. I argue that structural domination generates alienation (of both dominators and dominated) and show how alienation is a moral wrong of a distinctive kind which vindicates the distinctive wrong of structural domination. I conclude by discussing some objections and showing that if the most hideous instances of agential domination are in fact secondary wrongs, wrongs that inherit their wrongness from the primary wrong of domination by structures, this has important implications for resistance, in particular class-based analysis of resistance.

Location details

Room 14.33