Jessica Benjamin’s Theory Surrounding Power

Jessica Benjamin’s book, Bonds of Love, introduces her theoretical argument around subjectivity and power combining the ideas of domination and social, gender, and family roles to bring light to the problem of the power structure. She uses the idea of binary thinking as leverage for domination and hierarchical thought processes. Benjamin ties individualism and the idea that you are you because you are not them into what creates a false sense of self hood and the roles or expectations given to certain people.

The main argument, evident throughout the examples she presents, is that there needs to be a mutual recognition of power and a connectedness to find a common ground on theory of identity. She also highlights the importance that the theory doesn’t deny anyone else’s sense of self as a means to achieve personal individuality and self.

Total domination is a result of unhealthy subjectivity, not being able to be humble enough to fathom the idea of being equally powerful. Mutual respect and recognition between others, being able to recognize an equally respectable sense of self, is what generates a healthy identification of individuality and balance of subjectivity.

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