On Formal vs. Realistic Right of Exit and Voice

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Title: On Formal vs. Realistic Right of Exit and Voice
Author: Hyyrynen (Isopoussu), Milla-Maria
Contributor: University of Helsinki, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Economic and Political Studies, Social and Moral Philosophy
Publisher: Helsingin yliopisto
Date: 2011-11-16
URI: http://urn.fi/URN:NBN:fi-fe201703315921
Thesis level: Master's thesis
Abstract: In my Master's thesis I discuss a relatively new topic in the discussion on multiculturalism in political philosophy, the right of exit from a religious or a cultural group. Liberal theorists agree on the fact that everyone should be free to leave their group, to have a right to exit. However, they disagree on the content of the right. I present two schools on the topic: the formal right of exit strategy by Chandran Kukathas and the realistic right of exit strategy by Susan Moller Okin. I also view the importance of the individual's right to voice. I try to answer to a question which is twofold: whether the formal right of exit strategy is enough for protecting the freedom of individuals belonging to groups or whether the real abilities to exit should be considered as well, and whether everyone should also have a right to voice. In my work I compare the view of Kukathas with that of Okin. My main sources are Kukathas's book, The Liberal Archipelago. A Theory of Diversity and Freedom (2003) and Okin's article Mistresses of Their Own Destiny? Group Rights, Gender, and Realistic Right of Exit (2002). I also discuss what is often pictured as an alternative or supplement to exit, namely voice. By it is meant the right of the dissenters in the groups to express their views and try to reform their groups accordingly. Regarding to voice, my main source is a book Exit, Voice, and Loyalty (1970) by Albert O. Hirschman. I also cover minors and exit, as well as the so called costs of exit and voice. I show that whereas Okin thinks everyone should have certain capacities to exit, Kukathas objects it is irrelevant to consider them. Okin claims girls and women often lack these capacities. She argues they are for this reason not substantively free to leave their groups, nor in an equal position with men to exercise the right of exit. Therefore the formal right of exit strategy should be rejected. I claim that the debate between Kukathas and Okin comes back to a broader one in liberalism, namely on the question of which is the fundamental value in liberalism: toleration or autonomy. Kukathas stresses the former, Okin the latter. I come to the conclusion that in order to protect the freedom of all, the formal right of exit strategy should be abandoned in favor of the realistic right of exit strategy. Regarding to voice, along the right of exit, everyone should also have a right to voice. Keywords right of exit, groups, liberalism, autonomy, toleration, voice
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