Katherine Kim "Protest as an Exit Strategy from a Partial State of Nature"
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Detroit, MI 48202
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The WSU Humanities Center invites faculty, students, staff, and the community to a Brown Bag talk given by Katherine Kim (Associate Professor, Philosophy) on the topic of the ""Protest as an Exit Strategy from a Partial State of Nature".
Abstract: This paper argues that protests against racial violence are joint actions to exit “a partial state of nature,” a political society characterized by physical insecurity for a racial minority group. An exit from a Hobbesian or Lockean state of nature is possible with an agreement between equally-positioned parties. By contrast, an exit from a partial state of nature requires negotiation between parties - the state and citizens - with vastly unequal strength and bargaining power. An important function of organized mass protests is to shift the balance of bargaining power toward citizens, and thereby, pressure the state to negotiate and implement new terms of cooperation. This paper identifies four features of an exit strategy from a partial state of nature: (1) negotiating parties are positioned within a political hierarchy of authority and subject, (2) unequal access to the use of force between the parties poses a high risk of repression upon citizens demanding new terms of cooperation, (3) join action distributes the risk and lowers the potential cost of their participation, and (4) joint action among citizens strengthens their bargaining position by shifting the balance of power away from the state."
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