• Against Marriage,  all posts on feminism,  all posts on liberalism,  all posts on marriage,  feminism,  liberalism,  multiculturalism and religion,  publications on marriage

    Against Marriage: An Egalitarian Defence of the Marriage-Free State

    (Oxford University Press, 2017) Against Marriage is an exciting, provocative work making the egalitarian case against the state recognition of marriage. In it, Clare Chambers shows how feminist and liberal principles require the abolition of state-recognised marriage and the creation of a marriage-free state: one in which private marriages, whether religious or secular, would have no legal status. Against Marriage is in two parts. Part One makes the case against marriage. Chambers investigates the critique of marriage that has developed within feminist and liberal theory and argues that marriage is a violation of both equality and liberty. Feminists have long argued that state-recognised marriage is a violation of equality. Chambers…

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    Review of Against Marriage in The Philosophical Review

    Laurie Shrage reviews Against Marriage.  “I agree with Chambers that state-recognized marriage retains patriarchal residues and is ultimately an inegalitarian and underinclusive way to regulate intimate partnerships and family units. I also believe that it is possible, in principle, to devise default directives for regulating different kinds of intimate relationships fairly and justly. However, the devil really is in the details here. Chambers has provided the moral and political justification, as well as a plausible mechanism, for a more egalitarian approach to family law and policy, and now it is incumbent on those who agree with her to develop the fair and just default rules that will take the place of…

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    Beyond Marriage: Philosophy, Politics, Law

    I am the convenor of this international and interdisciplinary conference held in Cambridge in May 2019. There have been significant changes to the institution of marriage in recent years, with many countries introducing same-sex marriage, civil partnerships, and other forms of non-traditional union. For some, marriage is a central institution that must be protected, for others it is inevitably unjust and should be abolished. This conference will bring together academics and practitioners from philosophy, politics, and law to debate what lies beyond marriage. The programme includes: Dr Rebecca Steinfeld, claimant in Steinfeld and Keidan v. Secretary of State, “The Equal Civil Partnerships Campaign” Tim Loughton MP, “Equal Civil Partnerships in the House of Commons” Andrew…

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    Medically unnecessary genital cutting and the child’s right to bodily integrity: an international expert consensus statement

    In American Journal of Bioethics Vol. 19 (2019). Keeping our focus exclusively on a Western context for the purposes of this article, we argue as follows: Under most conditions, cutting any person’s genitals without their informed consent is a serious violation of their right to bodily integrity. As such, it is morally impermissible unless the person is nonautonomous (incapable of consent) and the cutting is medically necessary. This paper is authored by the Brussels Collaboration on Bodily Integrity (2019). This work grew out of informal discussions among participants in the G3 International Experts Meeting on FGM/C in Brussels, Belgium, May 20-22, 2019, along with other scholarly collaborators. We are physicians,…

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    Against Marriage reviewed in Mind

    “ Elizabeth Brake, author of the excellent book Minimizing Marriage, has reviewed Against Marriage in Mind (January 2019). You can read the whole review here. Here’s an excerpt: “Against Marriage makes an important contribution to the debate over the future of marriage within liberalism. It is clear and cogently argued and a pleasure to read. One of its virtues is its breadth; it makes arguments which address a range of liberal and feminist views and should be accessible to non-specialists. At the same time, it advances the leading edge of the specialist debate in provocative and intriguing ways.”

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    Driverless cars on BBC R4’s PM

    I appeared on BBC Radio 4’s PM programme on Wednesday 6th February 2019, discussing the ethics of driverless cars. You can listen to this programme (for a while, at least) here. I appear about 48 minutes in. The segment inspired a satirical news piece “Ethically programmed self-driving cars refuse to start engines as it contributes to Global Warming” by Simon Paul Miller, which you can read here.

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    Blending in and standing out: comfort and visibility in beauty practices

    “My thought is this: a significant aspect of beauty practices is comfort and visibility. Comfort relates to discipline: discipline makes some actions and inactions seem comfortable and others effortful. Visibility relates to surveillance: some beauty practices make us seem visible or hyper-visible, others make us feel invisible. Sometimes beauty practices aim at making the practitioner visible: she wants her appearance to be noticeable. But beauty practices can also aim at invisibility: at making a person blend in rather than stand out. Both make up and its absence can have this effect, depending on the person and context involved.” This short piece is published on the Beauty Demands blog. You can…

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    Against Marriage reviewed in Ethics

    I’m delighted by Ralph Wedgwood’s review of Against Marriage in Ethics. He makes some pertinent criticisms of the argument of the book, but he also writes: “Clare Chambers has produced what will surely be for years to come the definitive argument for the abolitionist view of marriage. … [T]his is in my opinion a superb book. It is prodigiously scholarly, but at the same time wonderfully clear and accessible. The arguments are provocative and challenging throughout. The literature on this vitally important topic urgently needed a book-length defense of the abolitionist position. It is hard to imagine a book performing this necessary role better than Chambers’s Against Marriage.” You can read…

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    Against Marriage at Bigg Books

    I’ll be talking on Against Marriage in the Bigg Books speaker series in Newcastle-Upon-Tyne on 20 November 2018. You can find more details here. Clare Chambers is Reader in Political Philosophy at University of Cambridge. She is a political philosopher specializing in feminist philosophy, contemporary liberalism, theories of social justice, and social construction. She will argue for the abolition of state-recognised marriage on the grounds that it violates both equality and liberty, even when expanded to include same-sex couples. Instead she will defend the idea of a the marriage-free state: an egalitarian state in which religious or secular marriages are permitted but have no legal status. Clare Chambers’s award-winning book Against…

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    Against Marriage at Festival of Ideas

    I talked about Against Marriage at the Cambridge Festival of Ideas on Monday 15th October 2018, in the Frankopan Hall of Jesus College, Cambridge. Many states have recently expanded their definition of marriage to allow marriage between same-sex couples: a welcome move towards equality, but does this go far enough? Philosopher Clare Chambers argues for a more extreme position: that the state should not recognise marriage at all. State recognition of marriage, she will argue, is a violation of both equality and liberty – no matter how marriage is redefined. Tickets were sold out and so the talk was live-streamed. You can watch it on youtube here:

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    David Easton Award presented at APSA 2018

    The 2018 David Easton Award was presented to me for Against Marriage: An Egalitarian Defence of the Marriage-Free State at the APSA Annual Meeting in Boston. The Award is given “for a book that broadens the horizons of contemporary political science by engaging issues of philosophical significance in political life through any of a variety of approaches in the social sciences and humanities.” You can see previous winners of the Award here.

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    Sweet Reason on BBC Radio 4

    You can hear me debate offence with Jordan Peterson, Shaista Aziz, and Evan Davis on BBC Radio 4’s “Sweet Reason”.  Are people offended too easily? Are there some topics that should not be debated?The broadcast is on Thursday 2nd August 2018 at 9am and 9.30pm, and you can hear the programme online here.    

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    OUP Women in Philosophy reading list

      Against Marriage features in the Oxford University Press Women in Philosophy reading list. “This March, in recognition of Women’s History Month, the OUP Philosophy team will be celebrating Women in Philosophy. The philosophy discipline has long been perceived as male-dominated, so we want to recognize some of the incredible female philosophers from the past including Simone de Beauvoir, Mary Wollstonecraft, and Hannah Arendt, plus female philosophers doing great things in 2018 like Martha Nussbaum, Clare Chambers, and Kate Manne.” You can see the whole reading list here.

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    Routledge Companion to Feminist Philosophy reviewed in Hypatia Reviews Online

    I have a chapter on feminism and liberalism in The Routledge Companion to Feminist Philosophy, edited by Ann Garry, Serene J. Khader, and Alison Stone (Routledge, 2017). The volume has been reviewed by Amy Marvin in Hypatia Reviews Online. You can read the full review here. “The Routledge Companion to Feminist Philosophy presents an exciting, comprehensive, and original pluralist presentation of feminist philosophy that is a much-needed update to existing feminist philosophy companions. Students, scholars, independent researchers, and departments interested in feminism and philosophy would do well to make sure they have access to this volume, and it should be a relevant resource for years to come.”

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    Quoted on marriage in The Guardian

    Rose Hackman quotes me in a long-form piece on marriage in The Guardian. You can read the whole article here. ” “Married men gained rights over women’s bodies, property and children,” confirms Clare Chambers, a lecturer in philosophy at the University of Cambridge who wrote a book arguing for an end to state-recognized marriage. “Traditionally [marriage] has maintained legal gender inequality, and it has done so to the benefit of men.” “Chambers concedes that many formal inequalities tied to marriage have been denounced and revoked. Marital rape was outlawed in the UK in 1991 and in the US in 1993 – hard to believe there was ever an exemption –…

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    Against Marriage wins APSA’s David Easton Award

    I am delighted and honoured to learn that Against Marriage: An Egalitarian Defence of the Marriage-Free State has won the 2018 David Easton Award of the American Political Science Association (APSA). APSA say: “The David Easton Award is given for a book that broadens the horizons of contemporary political science by engaging issues of philosophical significance in political life through any of a variety of approaches in the social sciences and humanities.” The citation for the Award is as follows: “Clare Chambers’ Against Marriage: An Egalitarian Defence of the Marriage-Free State and Barbara Arneil’s Domestic Colonies: The Turn Inward to Colony won recognition from our committee because these two books…

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    Danny Reviews Against Marriage

    You can read the review here. “I found Chambers persuasive: Against Marriage compelled me to rethink some of my ideas on the subject and brought much greater precision to others. And even those who disagree with much more of it will have to engage with it, as an integrated and reasonably comprehensive analysis of how the state should approach marriage.”

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    Reasonable Disagreement and the Neutralist Dilemma

    Chambers, Clare, “Reasonable Disagreement and the Neutralist Dilemma: Abortion and circumcision in Matthew Kramer’s Liberalism with Excellence” in The American Journal of Jurisprudence (May 2018). You can read the paper here. Abstract: This paper starts by investigating the idea of reasonable disagreement. It then considers Matthew Kramer’s argument that there is no neutral solution available to the disagreement over abortion. The paper argues that Kramer’s account has wider application, and identifies a neutralist dilemma. The neutralist dilemma applies when, of two policy options available to the state, one is unreasonable. It follows that the state should enact only the reasonable policy. However, in a neutralist dilemma the fact of reasonable disagreement due to the…

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    Fabian Society on Against Marriage

    Andrew Harrop, General Secretary of the Fabian Society, reviewed Against Marriage in Fabian Review, May 2018. You can read the full review here. “Marriage makes me uncomfortable, whether the reason is political, historical, cultural or aesthetic. No matter how many married couples I see living modern equal relationships, for me, the whole concept is tainted by its patriarchal past. But I say ‘for me’ with good reason, as I have dozens of friends and comrades who disagree. This is a fault-line issue that divides socialists and feminists amongst themselves. In Against Marriage, Clare Chambers makes the case for why egalitarians and liberals should reject marriage. It is political philosophy at its…