Dangerous Loyalties

Lisa Tessman

in Burdened Virtues

Published in print October 2005 | ISBN: 9780195179149
Published online October 2005 | e-ISBN: 9780199835782 | DOI:

Series: Studies in Feminist Philosophy

  Dangerous Loyalties

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This chapter suggests that not only might a loyal disposition be detrimental for the one who is loyal, but it may actually turn out not to truly support liberatory ends. In order for group loyalty to even be available as a virtue, there must be a worthy object of loyalty. While feminist communities and communities that ground liberatory racial movements are potential objects of group loyalty, loyalty forbids doing anything aimed at undermining the existence of the object of loyalty. Because liberatory principles sometimes do indeed call for dissolving the identities to which one might have allegiances, there may be no morally acceptable opportunities for group loyalty for a political resister. Political resisters who do sustain loyalty to a community by accepting the challenge of being a loyal critic may become burdened in several ways: they may find themselves tied to a community whose practices reflect internal dynamics of dominance and subordination, and they may belong to the community only uncomfortably, for their critical activities will tend to alienate them from other community members.

Keywords: loyalty; community; criticism; political resistance; virtue; burden; racial politics; feminism; identity

Chapter.  12003 words. 

Subjects: Feminist Philosophy

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