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In recent years, opponents of “political correctness” have surged to prominence from both left and right, shaping a discourse in which perpetrators are “defiantly” imagined as Muslim refugees, i.e. outsiders/others, while victims are identified as “our women.”
This poisonous and regressive situation grounds Hark and Villa’s theorisation of contemporary regimes of power as engaged primarily in the violent production of difference. In this moment, they argue, the logic of “differentiate and rule” thoroughly permeates the social. Our entire “way of life” is premised on endless subtle hierarchical distinctions, which determine whole populations” attitudes, feelings and actions.
How can we learn to value difference when it is too often enlisted in the service of domination? Hark and Villa make a compelling case for the urgent necessity for a detoxification of feminism as a matter of urgency, and for an ethical mode of living-with the world, that is, living with alterity.
“Against those who would pit a feminism for white women against migrant communities and a multi-racial feminism, this brave and brilliant work of critical feminism refuses to be divided from its allies, conquered by those who would appropriate and defame feminism itself. This work is not only a model for socially engaged critique for our times, but thought set into action, mobilizing for the future of difference.”
“The Future of Difference offers a powerful indictment of the ways mainstream feminism has been coopted by ethnonationalists to promote Europe’s increasingly punitive border regime. Hark and Villa offer a thorough, impassioned analysis of the dire consequences of combating sexual violence without an intersectional lens. An urgent book for our times.”
“This is an outstanding, timely and courageous work of feminist scholarship. The book extends and renews the important writing of Stuart Hall in his 1978 Policing the Crisis. This excellent translation will ensure the book by Sabine Hark and Paula-Irene Villa will be a major contribution to multiple disciplines.”
“In this breathtaking text, two of Germany’s leading feminist thinkers address some of the biggest questions of our time. In the face of unprecedented global migration, large scale anti-sexual violence movements, and a simultaneous right-wing backlash against feminism, Hark and Villa ask us to consider anew the political question of cultural difference. Based upon their in-depth analysis of the entanglements between sexism, (racist) feminism, and anti-gender ideologies in Europe and beyond over the past decade, the authors propose a “grammar of coexistence of the different” that engages in the “art of encountering others without erasing their otherness”. Reading this text as I do in the midst of a global pandemic, Hark and Villa’s book offers invaluable reflections on ethical coexistence at times of great global precarity.”