September 22, 2009


Nussbaum, Martha C., Hiding from Humanity: Disgust, Shame, and the Law (Princeton & Oxford: Princeton U. Press, 2004) “[F}ocus on a deeper conceptual issue. This issue is, what is the relevant ’community’? The Achilles heel of all communitarian arguments is their disregard of this all-important question. No group is fully homogeneous. Even in the case of small religious or ethnic communities that are renowned for their homogeneity of values, that renown is typically based on a false and romanticized notion of the group in question, as Fred Kniss has eloquently shown in his important study of American Mennonite communities. All communities contain differences about norms and values, and also differences of power. Frequently these two types of difference are connected: what gets to parade as the ‘values’ of the ‘group’ are, frequently, the values of the group’s most dominant members. Thus, for example, most of what we think we know about the ‘values’ of most ethnic and religious groups in history really represents the views of male members of those groups, rather than the views of women, which may be impossible to recover from the silence of history. Other dissident and relatively powerless groups—the young, the elderly, those who hold unpopular religious , political, or moral views--may not win recognition as part of what the ‘group’ stands for. Differences of power also affect who is permitted to count as a group member and who is not.. Groups frequently define their boundaries in ways that stigmatize and exclude; thus , rather than acknowledging the presence of a dissident or minority subgroup, they may simply refuse to recognize these people as members of their body at all.” Id. at 274-275 (citations omitted).).

Sterry, David Henry & R. J. Martin, Jr., eds., Hos, Hookers, Call Girls, and Rent Boys: Professional Writing on Life, Love, Money, and Sex (Brooklyn: Soft Skull Press, 2009) (See Toni Bentley, “Meet, Pay, Love,” NYT Book Review, Sunday, August 23, 2009.).