1st Edition

Autonomy and Identity The Politics of Who We Are.

By Ros Hague Copyright 2011

    Autonomy and Identity are key concepts in both political and feminist thought and have played central roles in both fields. Although there has been much academic work on both concepts there has arguably been little that has addressed the connections between autonomy and identity.

    Autonomy and Identity seeks to draw innovative links between these concepts in order to develop a new understanding which sees autonomy as a process by which we change and develop our identity. It draws on thinkers from the canon of political thought such as G.W.F. Hegel, Mary Wollstonecraft, J.S. Mill and Simone de Beauvoir and features illustrative examples drawn from a wide range of contemporary issues including pornography, domestic violence and women’s citizenship. Hague argues that identity is best understood as changing, multiple, and something we need to take control of ourselves. In order to support this version of identity there needs to be a concept of autonomy which emphasises self-direction to control our identity.

    Providing valuable insight into the complexities of thinking about linking autonomy to identity, this book will be of interest to students and scholars of political science, gender studies, contemporary political thought and the history of political thought.

    1. Introduction  2. Constraining the Individual: Liberalism and Autonomy  3. The Social Character of the Autonomous Agent  4. Mary Wollstonecraft and the Politics of Self-Control  5. Leaving the Nether World: Women, Autonomy and Recognition in Hegel’s Thought  6. John Stuart Mill and the Limits on Individuality  7. Freedom and Other People: From Matter to Mind to Other People  8. Conclusion


    Ros Hague is a Teaching Fellow in the School of Politics and International Relations at the University of Nottingham, currently teaching political theory and American government. She is also a fellow of the Centre for the Study for Social and Global Justice. Her research interests cover the areas of the history of political thought, contemporary political theory and feminist political theory.